Facebook Reverses Ban on Cryptocurrency Ads

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After only five months, Facebook has begun to backtrack on its cryptocurrency advertisement ban which was put into effect back in January. The move by Facebook was quickly followed by similar bans imposed by Google and Twitter on their respective platforms. Now, however. it would seem that the social media giant is slowly but surely opening the doors back up to certain cryptocurrency advertisers.

The ban was never easy to enforce

Facebook had trouble enforcing the ban for quite a while after it was initially put in place. Mere days after the ban, cryptocurrency advertisements were still being seen on the social network. The method of enforcement was perhaps slightly naive on Facebook’s part. The idea was to put a blanket ban on ads making any mentions of terms like ‘cryptocurrency’, ‘ICOs’, ‘initial coin offerings’, and ‘blockchain’.

Clever crypto-enthusiasts simply reworded their ads in order to bypass the filter put in place. All they had to do was use the term ‘c-currencies’ and ‘c-trading’ instead of ‘cryptocurrencies’ and ‘crypto-trading’. As such, Facebook had to widen the scope of words their filters would catch, and thus began a long back-and-forth between the platform and the advertisers.

The reversal of the ban is only partial

One of the main reasons for the ban in the first place was the fact that so many ICOs turned out to be scams. For this reason, the ban imposed on advertisers still holds for ICOs and binary options. When it comes to cryptocurrencies themselves, and other related products and services, the ban has effectively been lifted. A spokesperson for Facebook has however mentioned that all advertisers will have to go through a vetting process before they’re allowed to place an ad.

This vetting process involves advertisers having to submit an application along with their ad. Along with the application, the advertisers need to let Facebook know of any licenses they hold, if they have a presence on public stock exchanges, as well as provide details of their official business information. These restrictions will greatly reduce the number of advertisers who are eligible to place an ad on Facebook.

Facebook calls on the community to help out

The ban was initially put in place to protect the Facebook community from fraudulent activity. This activity can still be seen occasionally, with the odd ‘Bitc0in’ ad having passed through the filter. Some scammers have even claimed that cryptocurrencies are now an official currency in Sweden, in order to lend legitimacy to their ad.

Because Facebook’s filter will never be able to catch 100% of scammers, the spokesperson has called on the wider Facebook community to help police the space and report any dodgy advertisements they come across.

Meanwhile, Facebook is working on their own cryptocurrency. If and when this is launched, the ban might be completely reversed and the restrictions lifted. It could, however, also go in the completely opposite direction. Why would Facebook not ban all other cryptocurrencies than their own? The temptation to eliminate competition in this way would be irresistible to most companies.

I’m a freelance writer and full-time curious person. My main interests are philosophy, politics, art, culture, science, and how they’re all interlinked. When I’m not writing, I’m fronting a band, producing records, and making videos. I’m also currently working on launching a YouTube channel that will focus on culture and politics. I think blockchain technology is fascinating because of the huge potential it has to revolutionise not only the financial sector, but society as a whole.