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Facebook bans all advertisements promoting cryptocurrencies

Facebook has banned all cryptocurrency advertisements on its platforms in a bid to stem “services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

Nearly a month after company co-founder Mark Zuckerberg pledged to evaluate the impact of cryptocurrencies in his annual ‘challenge’ address, Facebook has now moved to ban all cryptocurrency advertisements on its core platforms.

The move means that no advertiser – whether legitimate or not – will now be able to issue promotions for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, or punt new Initial Coin Offerings.

Advertisers who violate Facebook’s new policies will be banned on Facebook’s core app, Instagram, and the company’s Audience Network – which deploys advertisements on other platforms.

Rob Leathern, head of product management at Facebook, elaborated in an official blog post – writing that “This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”

The move may come as a part to redress the propensity of eager investors to fall prey to ill-conceived or malicious Initial Coin Offerings. A recent report elaborated that up to $400 million USD raised through ICOs has been lost or stolen to date.

A surprising turn of events

The move is a surprising one for Facebook, considering the recent statements by at least two of its board members who have publicly declared either an academic or financial interest in cryptocurrency.

Mark Zuckerberg himself recently pledged to investigate cryptocurrency further in his 2018 Challenge address, where speaking on centralisation the businessman wrote “…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. 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.

Similarly, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund – the venture capital firm that has made prolific investments in companies such as Facebook and SpaceX – has taken a long-term bet on Bitcoin with initial investments between some $15-20 million USD.

Lastly, In 2013, internet entrepreneurs and sibling duo Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss – who themselves launched a lawsuit against Zuckerberg for the ‘theft’ of the ConnectU business plan which later birthed Facebook – purchased a mammoth one percent of Bitcoin’s total supply in estimated excess of some 120,000 BTC. As of today, that holding may already be worth more than $1 billion USD.

Have your say!

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s decision to ban cryptocurrency advertisements? What impact could this have on new Initial Coin Offerings? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA