Facebook Can’t Keep Up the Fight Against Crypto: Non-ICO Ads Allowed Again

Siamak Masnavi

Realizing that there is growing interest in cryptocurrencies and that the ad revenue from crypto-related businesses is potentially huge, Facebook announced on Tuesday (June 26th) that it has decided to relax the ban it introduced on 30 January 2018.

At the end of January 2018, Facebook updated its ads policy to disallow ads that "promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency." It said it was doing so because of its belief that "misleading" or "deceptive" ads had no place on Facebook. It acknowledged at the time that this complete ban on all crypto-related ads was perhaps a bit too drastic a measure:

"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."

Well, on Tuesday, via another blog post by Rob Leathern, Facebook's Product Management Director, Facebook said that it had updated its ads policy again to "allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers" whilst still prohibiting "ads that promote binary options and initial coin offerings." 

Any business wishing to advertise crypto-related products and services must now prove that they are eligible by filling out a form called "Cryptocurrency Products and Services Onboarding Request" as well as providing proof of ownership of the domain(s) associated with this application. Here are two of the more interesting questions that advertisers now need to answer:

  • "Do you currently hold any required licenses or regulatory certification?"
  • "Is your company traded in any public stock exchanges?"

For example, in the case of crypto exchanges in United States, how many exchanges are currently able to claim that they have SEC approval?

Facebook's partial reversal of its crypto ads ban seems like a clear sign of admission that the crypto industry is getting much too big to ignore. Therefore, it would be not too surprising if Facebook's closest rival in the advertising business, Google, shortly decided to follow suit by at least partially reversing its own ban on crypto ads (which it introduced on 14 March 2018).