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Facebook bans cryptocurrency ads

"Click here to learn about our no-risk cryptocurrency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world"? How about no?

What was the last cryptocoin straw that broke Facebook’s ad back?
… perhaps the exitscammer who left nothing but a bananagram on startup Prodeum’s website before clearing out with all $11 of investments?
We don’t know what flipped the switch, but Facebook on Tuesday inserted a new Clause 29 in the “Prohibited Content” section of its advertising policies that bans ads for cryptocurrency.
From hereon out, all cryptocurrency ads are verboten, including those notoriously dodgy initial coin offerings (ICOs) and binary options (financial contracts that give the buyer the right to buy or sell an asset for a specified price on or before a certain date).
Clause 29 now reads like so:

Ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.

Facebook provided these examples:

  • “Start binary options trading now and receive a 10-risk free trades bonus!”
  • “Click here to learn more about our no-risk cryptocurrency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world.”
  • “New ICO! Buy tokens at a 15% discount NOW!”
  • “Use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin!”

…use our retirement funds to buy Bitcoin? What a great idea!
Then we can all retire to live out our days in our cars… if, that is, we fall victim to one of the sundry ways there are to get taken for a crypto ride, such as if the value nosedives, or if the exchange gets hacked, or if digital wallets get frozen, or if exchanges claim to “lose” them a la Mt. Gox, or if we’re held at gunpoint by robbers who want our passphrases.

This is what Facebook product management director Rob Leathern had to say about keeping us all safe from cryptocurrency outfits that tend toward the slimy:

We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.

Facebook knows it might not catch every scammy ad, but it will keep tweaking as it goes along to make it tougher for the shysters to fleece us, Leathern said:

This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.


Thank goodness! It’s time for the pushback against cryptocurrency. Without it, ransomware would be an endeavour from which it be almost impossible to make money.


Cryptocurrency doesn’t need a soaring value to make ransomware work. It just needs some value that the crooks can cash out.


I think you’re missing his point, Paul. Whether or not the value soars, cryptocurrency is what enables the ransomware transactions.


I didn’t miss the point – I just didn’t give a good answer to it :-)
I think what I am saying is that there are only so many sorts of pushback: regulatory, which will take ages and is unlikely to stop the crooks from being able to cash out altogether; and social, to reduce demand and thus value, but once again I doubt this will stop the crooks being able to use cryptocurrencies to get paid.
In short: I think that without cryptocurrency, ransomware wouldn’t be anywhere near so easy, and that part I’ll agree with. But I’m not convinced even that an outright ban on cryptocurremncy would make ransomware “almost impossible”. Different, sure, but I am ready to assume the worst – that the crooks would find a way. (Maybe you could pay by handing over data, such as working social media accounts or customer records? Who can say?)


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