Facebook has announced a new advertising policy, and it’s very simple. The social network has put into place a new policy prohibiting “ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices. In short, Facebook has banned cryptocurrency ads but also ads for several other financial products which, unfortunately, have become more prone to scams or questionable practices.
The move is particularly interesting given Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s interest in cryptocurrency.
Facebook bans cryptocurrency ads
In a post today, Facebook announced that it banned cryptocurrency ads and ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and also ads for other financial products such as binary options. Of note, three of the four examples of banned promotional taglines are related to cryptocurrency. This seems to suggest that the extreme volatility of digital currencies and the growing number of questionable schemes could be the main target of this new ad policy.
Facebook may be taking a cue from officials with the Securities and Exchange Commission, who have been warning investors and consumers about crypto-related scams. Officials warned investors earlier this month that protections around cryptoassets are limited. Although they have taken actions against companies and ICOs that they have thought to be questionable, such as by suspending trading on certain stocks, there isn’t anything they can do to keep investors from gambling away their nest eggs on a speculative investment they don’t understand.
The social media firm said that its new policy is “intentionally broad” because “there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.” It also said that it is working to improve its detection of “deceptive and misleading advertising practices.”
Facebook tries to prevent scammers from profiting off its users
Facebook plans to “ramp up” enforcement of this new ad policy across all of its platforms, not only the core platform but also Facebook Audience Network and Instagram. The social media firm wants to “improve the integrity and security” of the ads shown on its network and also “make it harder for scammers to profit from a presence on Facebook.”
It’s unclear whether the policy against cryptocurrency ads has gone into effect yet or not, but many ads which clearly violate it are still circulating. It’s also unclear how the many Facebook Groups which are focused on cryptocurrencies will be affected by the ban, if at all.
Will Facebook successfully target cryptocurrency ads?
The company noted that it might not catch all the ads that should be removed under the terms of its new policy, so it advises users to report any ads that violate its ad policies. To report an ad, just click on the icon in the upper right-hand corner of it. Of note, the social media firm said last year that it would crack down on ads which discriminate against some users, but months after that promise was made in response to a ProPublica investigation, the media outlet was still able to buy discriminatory ads through the company’s platform.
Facebook’s move against cryptocurrency ads also comes as it continues to fight back against fake news. However, its efforts to keep people from profiting off fake news have seemed to be rather hit and miss.