Facebook Filters News Feeds with a Ban on Cryptocurrency Ads

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg recently announced visions for a crackdown on current policies within the iconic 2 billion user social platform. One of the initial modifications to be published to the company blog: forbidding the use of bitcoin, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other cryptocurrency-backed advertisements.

It was brought to the operating team’s attention that users were being exposed to false advertisements claiming to provide astounding discounts and exclusive offers that realistically don’t exist among cryptocurrencies. The cryptocurrency ban was created as an initial action to rid the virtual space of “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.”

With this restriction and rumors of eastern Asia regulating the cryptocurrency exchanges as well, Bitcoin plummeted roughly 12 percent around Thursday to an approximate value of $9,000. This drop cut the digital currency more than half its December buzz-worthy value of $20,000 that it closed out 2017 at. Granted, Bitcoin and other tokens have recovered from worse – including a September ban in China – investors are waiting to see how strictly Facebook enforces this ban and how the market will react.

Ironically enough, Facebook’s board of directors include individuals like Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel who are among investors that actively engage in the crypto market. Some are arguing that the lack of knowledge of consumers with poorly operating businesses should not impose on the businesses that are acting in good faith. Scamming is illegal, but individuals being uneducated about their where they exchange their money is not.

“This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices,” wrote Rob Leathern, one of Facebook’s ad tech directors. “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”

Zuckerberg expressed in 2017 a discontentment with the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation being presented to users on the application. In addition to the abuse of the platform’s live features to spread hate or publicize serious social issues like suicides, the company has vouched to change what experiences are offered to users. Instagram and third-party app advertiser Ad Network will also feel the ramifications of this change.

However, during discussions on the new ban, Zuckerberg expressed in a Facebook post his interest in digital currencies. The appeal rests in the argument of centralization versus decentralization of power and the public is on standby to see how his research will modify this ban or contribute to the market.

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