Facebook is banning all advertisements for cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin and initial coin offerings, as part of an “intentionally broad” policy against deceptive marketers. Product management director Rob Leathern explained the decision in a blog post, saying Facebook will no longer accept ads that “promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” He says the decision isn’t permanent, though, and that Facebook will revisit the rules when it’s gotten better at detecting and removing bad ads.
“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs, and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith. This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up” across Facebook, Instagram, and its off-platform Audience Network, writes Leathern. “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”
Facebook’s guidelines include a few examples of ban-worthy ads, including the straightforward “Use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin!” It urges people to report any ads that slip through the cracks, although it doesn’t specify how much of a presence cryptocurrency had on the advertising network before this change.
Facebook allows ads for sensitive financial topics, with some restrictions. It requires “written permission” for any real-money gambling or gaming service, for instance, and bans “misleading or deceptive” student loan ads. It also requires advertisers of these services to only target users over 18 years of age. It’s plausible that legitimate cryptocurrency services will eventually get a similar treatment — once Facebook, like the rest of the world, figures out how to regulate them.