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Google's New Ad Policy - A Ban On Cryptocurrency and ICO Ads

15 March 2018

"There are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not now operating in good faith", said Facebook Product Management Director Rob Leathern earlier this year.

Google's move to ban crypto-currency-related ads is part of what Spencer described as a broader crackdown on bad actors in the advertising realm.

Google said in 2017, it removed more than 3.2 billion advertisements from the web, compared with 1.7 billion in 2016.

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The updates are created to protect users from "ads in unregulated or speculative financial products", Google's director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer said in a March 14 blog.

Google, the largest search engine on the planet has formally announced that it will restrict advertisement of "Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice)", as well as aggregators and affiliates concerning "cryptocurrencies and related content".

A spokesperson for Google said the policies of the company will attempt to anticipate the same. Another report suggested that Google was "quietly purging cryptocurrency ads" and suspending accounts.

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It goes without saying that scammers will try to come up with ways to circumvent Google's bans on such ads. "Throughout all of 2017, we reviewed over 11,000 websites for potentially containing misrepresentative or misleading content and we suspended more than 650 websites and terminated 90 publishers from our ad network". The policy will be implemented by June this year.

Bitcoin, an unregulated cryptocurrency built upon the decentralized ledger called blockchain, has earned the ire of governments and regulatory bodies globally for a number of reasons, including volatility and lack of oversight. Facebook also emphasized in a blog post that it wants users to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through its platform "without fear of scams or deception".

The update to its financial services policy comes into effect in June and will hit a wide range of products and services, with the primary focus of the statement being contracts for difference (CFDs), rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting.

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Users would also have to "comply with relevant legal requirements, including those related to complex speculative financial products". "A blanket ban for a longer or indefinite period can be counter-productive and may not be a sustainable option", he added.

Google's New Ad Policy - A Ban On Cryptocurrency and ICO Ads