Facebook Is Reversing Its Ban on Cryptocurrency Ads—But There’s a Catch

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Back in January, Facebook announced a ban on cryptocurrency-related advertising on its platform--a move that was soon echoed by Google. Now Facebook is partially reversing its ban.

The social network and advertising giant will still aim to block ads that promote initial coin offerings and so-called binary options--both areas that are rife with scams and over-risky gambles--but it will now again accept ads for cryptocurrencies themselves, and for “related content.”

However, Facebook product management director Rob Leathern said in a Tuesday blog post, advertisers will need to be vetted first.

“Advertisers wanting to run ads for cryptocurrency products and services must submit an application to help us assess their eligibility--including any licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business. Given these restrictions, not everyone who wants to advertise will be able to do so,” he wrote.

It is probably worth noting that Facebook is reportedly working on its own cryptocurrency to facilitate trades between users.

In any case, Facebook has never been entirely successful in enforcing its ban. First, there was an issue with advertisers getting their ads through the filters by using deliberate misspellings such as “bitc0in” for Bitcoin.

It is still not uncommon to see scammy ads on the platform claiming, for example, that Sweden has adopted a cryptocurrency as its second national currency and you really should buy into it right now. (If it needs saying, this is baloney.)

So it wasn’t surprising to see Leathern add at the end of his post: “It’s important that we continue to help prevent or remove misleading advertising for these products and services. So please continue to report content that violates our Advertising Policies by selecting ‘report ad’ in the upper right-hand corner of any advertisement.”