Facebook is willing to take a hit to its wallet to make sure its users don’t.
Facebook will ban all ads promoting cryptocurrency in an attempt to prevent scammers from using its advertising platform to dupe its users, the company announced on Tuesday.
Facebook’s ban applies to all ads that “promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, and cryptocurrency,” according to a company blog post. It will span ads running on Facebook, as well as Facebook-owned Instagram and its Audience Network ad network of third-party sites and apps.
“This policy is part of an ongoing effort to improve the integrity and security of our ads, and to make it harder for scammers to profit from a presence on Facebook,” according to the company.
For more than a year, Facebook has been repeatedly criticized for not adequately preventing people from misusing its ad platform. Examples include Russian entities running fake news ads in an attempt to undermine the US presidential election, as well as ways in which its ad targeting options can be used to violate laws barring age- and race-based discrimination and to communicate with self-identified members of hate groups.
However, Facebook’s decision to ban cryptocurrency ads may raise some eyebrows in light of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent comment about the technology. In a Facebook post published earlier this month, Zuckerberg positively cited cryptocurrency as an example of technology that can decentralize power.
While he stopped short of actually endorsing the technology, he also gave no indication that he intended to categorically block ads promoting it. He was more measured. “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,” Zuckerberg wrote.