Facebook to ban ads on cryptocurrency, initial coin offerings
Photo Credit: Reuters

Mark Zuckerberg-led social network Facebook Inc. has banned advertisements related to cyptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) as part of its effort to stop people from using its platform for misleading or deceptive practices.

"We’ve created a new policy that prohibits 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," Rob Leathern, product management director at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

"Two of our core advertising principles outline our belief that ads should be safe, and that we build for people first. Misleading or deceptive ads have no place on Facebook," he added.

Cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, have become very popular with a lot of people looking to earn profits by investing in them. Spam app developers and malicious marketers have already started using this excitement to dupe or mislead people. Recent speculation that Reliance Jio Infocomm – the telecom arm of conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd – may launch its own cryptocurrency has spawned an array of fake apps and websites promising ‘JioCoin’ rewards and benefits.

According to Facebook, the policy has been kept wide so that it can work towards developing a system that can more efficiently detect deceptive and misleading advertisements or ad practices. Leatherman said the policy will also be enforced gradually on other Facebook-owned platforms such as Instagram and Audience Network.

"We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve," he said. "We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception."

Leatherman also wrote that Facebook might not be able to eliminate all misleading ads under the new policy but has encouraged users to report content that violates its advertising policies. The changes "will make it harder for scammers to profit" from a presence on Facebook, he added.

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