The news that Facebook is banning cryptocurrency ads has hit the market. While this may come as a shock to some, events leading up to this decision have been in the works for some time. We take a look at what’s behind the company’s new announcement.
Are You Absolutely Certain It’s a Scam?
The trouble with Facebook ads is that you can’t always target your exact target market. For instance, how would you know whether someone in the geographical area, age bracket, and income level that you’re targeting also happens to be a raving crypto fan?
Thus, blockchain companies that advertise on Facebook are often met with scathing comments about the industry as a whole, and their business in particular. “You’re all scammers,” users write. “Oh great. Another coin here to steal our money,” others exclaim.
And while Facebook has been happily cashing in on the many cryptocurrency ads floating around on their Facebook and Instagram platforms, they’ve come under fire in recent months for enabling “fake news” and misleading propaganda. So, taking note of users’ concerns, Facebook has henceforth banned all Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and ICO-related ads. Because sometimes you just don’t know who’s real and who’s not.
A Few Bad Ads in Crypto Is One Big Ban for All
It’s an unfortunate fact that a few rotten apples give the whole basket a bad name, but this is exactly what is going on. The cryptocurrency and blockchain space is revolutionary and will be a game-changer in many industries, but the presence of scamming con artists and scheming hackers has driven the social media giant to take this monumental step.
According to their new mandate, Facebook will prohibit 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.”
In their release, Facebook states that while they may not catch every ad that doesn’t comply with their new policy, they will rely on the community to assist in reporting these types of ads that violate their updated terms. “Help us catch them to help you”, so to speak.
Mark Zuckerberg on Decentralization
At the beginning of the year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook, raising the issue of decentralization and mentioning cryptocurrency as a possible solution, if not a clear-cut one:
“..one of the most interesting questions in technology right now is about centralization vs decentralization. A lot of us got into technology because we believe it can be a decentralizing force that puts more power in people’s hands. (The first four words of Facebook’s mission have always been “give people the power”.) Back in the 1990s and 2000s, most people believed technology would be a decentralizing force.
But today, many people have lost faith in that promise. With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.
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.
What This Means for Cryptocurrency
Many bemoan the fact that industry regulation is creeping in insistently from all sides, and Facebook getting on the bandwagon is just adding fuel to the fire. However, crypto has survived the likes of Silk Road and Mt. Gox, and they only ended up making the industry stronger and more above-board.
With spammers swarming the ICO space like a horde of orcs straight out of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel and fake ICOs disappearing with millions of dollars worth of investments, the rationale behind Facebook’s decision is understandable. The company already has fake news to combat. The last thing they want is to be complicit in their users losing money because of decisions made based on ads on their platform.
It’s just another kill strike in the quest to eliminate the baddies and clean up the industry.
Of course, this leaves legitimate ICOs and crypto businesses high and dry, as Facebook is an important communication medium that draws many pairs of eyes to the ads served on people’s feeds.
Still, it’s likely that the crypto industry – as resourceful as it can be – will come up with a new solution. A blockchain-based solution, perhaps? One thing we can be sure of is that this story is far from over… watch this space and see how things pan out!