Business

Derek Tonin

Facebook further relaxes blockchain advertising ban

As Facebook gets closer to fully rolling out its own cryptocurrency and blockchain plans, it appears they are softening to the projects of others. The social media giant announced they will resume allowing ads pertaining to the sector in a May 9 blog post.

The advertising ban, which started in June 2018, expired upon the announcement for blockchain tech, news, educational seminars and cryptocurrency events. The rules aren’t entirely going away though, as a new set of rules will kick in on June 5, 2019. They wrote:

“We will update our Prohibited Financial Products and Services Policy to no longer allow ads promoting contracts for difference (CFDs), complex financial products that are often associated with predatory behaviour. These products, due to their complexity, often mislead people. We’ll also continue to ban ads for initial coin offerings (ICOs) as well as ads for binary options.”

The original ban totally prohibited cryptocurrency and blockchain advertising, but was eventually relaxed to a point where it was allowed, so long as Facebook had a chance to review the ad first. This change in policy will continue a pre-approval process for advertising cryptocurrencies, but allow blockchain ads to go ahead without an initial review.

This news comes just days after Facebook reportedly received a trademark for its Project Libra, an initiative to get blockchain technology and cryptocurrency worked into the fabric of its platform. There’s a good chance that Facebook wanted to advertise this new capability once it’s ready, and a ban on other blockchain projects would make advertising their own come across as a bit hypocritical.

Despite the ban, Facebook hasn’t been immune to scams. Australian users have been tricked by deep-faked cryptocurrency videos, using locally known celebrities, where the presenters talk favorably about investing in “this new money-making program that now has everyone in Australia whispering,” an offer that’s too good to be true if there ever was one.

Watchdogs were dismayed not only by the fact that the ad was misleading, but that Facebook was notified of its content and took no action to take it down, claiming it broke no rules.

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