Sunday 18 March 2018

Facebook bans all ads promoting cryptocurrency

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

Andrew Griffin

Facebook has banned people entirely from advertising bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The site's new policy is just the latest expression of concern that the rising price and interest in bitcoin is allowing malicious scammers to try and defraud people interested in investing in cryptocurrencies.

Facebook said it had found a huge number of people using the site to advertise misleading and dangerous offers. It identified a range of different, popular scams, which often use wording like: "Use your retirement funds to buy bitcoin!"

It said it would now ban ads that are related to cryptocurrency, initial coin offerings, or binary options.

Facebook noted that all of those things can be used legitimately – but that a worryingly large amount of ads marketing them were actually just scams.

The ban is wide-ranging and removes one of the most popular kinds of advertising on Facebook. But the company said it had designed it to be that way, so that it could ensure the policy covered all of the various problems that are seen on the site.

"This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram," Facebook's blog post read.

"We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve."

Mark Zuckerberg has said that he is keen to integrate the technologies powering cryptocurrency into Facebook. It would be a way of removing some of the increasing centralisation and control that companies like Facebook represent, he said.

"There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people's hands," he wrote in a post earlier in the year, in which he promised to fix Facebook.

"But they come with the risk of being harder to control. 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."

Independent News Service

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