Facebook has banned all advertising promoting cryptocurrency products or services in effort to preserve the integrity of the social media platform.
There has been an explosion of hype surrounding digital currencies like Bitcoin and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in recent months, and advertising on social networks like Facebook has been utilised to gain attention and promote certain schemes.
But many of these offerings and ICOs have turned out to be scams, and there is little legal recourse for people to recover their money.
This has led Facebook to implement a blanket ban on any ads featuring cryptocurrency.
In a blog post, Facebook product management director Rob Leathern said that ads on the platform should be safe for its users.
“Misleading or deceptive ads have no place on Facebook,” Leathern said.
“We’ve created a new policy that prohibits ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.”
This means that ads featuring lines such as “Start binary options trading now and receive a risk-free trades bonus” or “New ICO! Buy tokens at a 15% discount NOW!” will now be banned from Facebook.
“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception,” Leathern said.
“That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
Leathern said the policy is “intentionally broad” while the company works to improve its detection of misleading advertising on the platform. It also admitted that it won’t be able to catch all cryptocurrency ads, and has called on users to report such advertising.
“We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve,” he said.
“This policy is part of an ongoing effort to improve the integrity and security of our ads, and to make it harder for scammers to profit from a presence on Facebook.”
It comes just weeks after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pledged to further study cryptocurrency and its ability to empower individuals as part of his 2018 challenge to “focus on fixing important issues”.
He said that technology is often seen as centralising power rather than decentralising, but digital currencies provide an interesting contrast to this.
“There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that takes power from centralised systems and puts it back into people’s hands,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
“I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”