Facebook Inc. on Tuesday said it is banning ads promoting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as those about initial coin offerings (ICOs) and binary options.
The social networking giant said in a blog that it is making the move because these are “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”
“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception,” the Menlo Park-based company said in the blog. “That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
The move comes a few weeks after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said he would look into cryptocurrencies as part of a promise to correct persistent problems at his social networking business — including the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation.
He cited encryption and cryptocurrency as “important countertrends” that could help in the fight against those problems at that time. But he also warned “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.”
Facebook said it is being intentionally broad now in the new ban, barring any advertising for crypto, ICOs and binary options on all of its platforms, including Instagram.
“We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve,” it said.
A report from Ernst & Young last week said that about 10 percent of the $3.7 billion raised through ICOs last year was stolen. It also said that only 25 percent of ICOs hit their fundraising goals in November, versus 90 percent in June.
Binary options trading involves betting on whether certain financial indices will rise or fall by a certain time. It’s the type of all-or-nothing investment that U.K. regulators earlier this month cracked down on, saying that many were operating illegally.