Here's Why Facebook Banned Cryptocurrency Ads

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Facebook recently banned ads linked to certain financial practices and services, such as initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies. Although the site clarified it wanted to continue to be a place where people can learn about new products, it said it did not want to perpetuate those intended to mislead or deceive.

The announcement from Facebook also stated there are many entities advertising banned things that are “not currently operating in good faith.” The company knows that this new development is broad and says its scope is intentional.

However, it noted there would be ongoing efforts to revisit the policy and potentially change its enforcement as the site gets better at detecting ads that have no place there as far as Facebook's rules go.

A Twitter Tirade Could Have Had an Impact

Gavin Sheridan is the CEO of a startup called Vizlegal. He's also harshly critical of the way that Facebook was allowing cryptocurrency advertisers to have a presence on the site due to not being a fan of cryptocurrencies in general.

When speaking about them, he warned, “The potential for people being scammed is enormous,” and in his view, the social media site was facilitating the possibility of that happening by giving the ads a platform.

In mid-January, Sheridan broadcast his thoughts about this issue in great detail, with screenshots included. He did research and found that some of the financial-based advertisements on Facebook included links to bogus news sites created to look like they were from places like CNN.

Some Advertisers Have Dodged the Ban

Even with the ban in place, people reported they still saw some of the disallowed ads. Granted, when initially discussing the announcement, Facebook acknowledged it wouldn't be able to catch every offender. It reminded users they could still report ads that don't meet the site's rules as usual.

When Facebook investigated how some advertisers were able to keep posting cryptocurrency ads on the platform, the findings revealed it was due to a spammer trick seemingly almost as old as the internet itself — intentionally misspelling words to make them undetectable by filters. There have also been other ads that fell through the cracks even without spelling errors.

It's promising, then, that Facebook is developing AI-based technologies that can recognize pictures and text. Some people still assert the best practice is to have humans review all the advertising submissions for the site.

If Facebook perfects its artificial-intelligence algorithms, it could potentially approve ads faster while still keeping screener employees in the equation.

Other Potential Marketing Techniques for Cryptocurrency Brands

Although there are undoubtedly some cryptocurrency-related brands on Facebook that exist solely to scam unsuspecting victims, others have genuine offerings and still need to find ways to promote them. With Facebook out of the question as a promotional avenue for the time being, marketing specialists are looking for alternatives.

One option for individuals who aim to drive interest in certain kinds of cryptocurrencies is to focus on the branding aspects of those products. For example, some analysts think these virtual funds could become part of people's identities and highlight their consumer preferences, similarly to the way a choice to buy an Android smartphone versus an iPhone might cause people to reach certain conclusions about an individual.

Also, gaming brand Atari is one of the latest companies to discuss its move into the cryptocurrency sector, and it wants to do so by creating its own virtual money, the Atari Token. Since Atari revealed the news, its stock prices went up by 60 percent.

That's something that often happens when brands decide to delve into cryptocurrencies. And, the phenomenon might offer yet another branding opportunity that could help marketers looking for new ways to profit.

For example, there may be instances when brands prefer to align themselves with existing cryptocurrencies rather than create their own. Then, marketers who work for well-established cryptocurrencies could approach those companies and discuss partnership possibilities.

Also, some sponsorship opportunities may have international potential, especially since cryptocurrencies function without geographic constraints. Such was the case when CashBet, a cryptocurrency based in the United States, finalized a deal with Arsenal, a Premier League football team that plays in London.

This deal marks the first time a globally recognized sports team has affiliated itself with a cryptocurrency company. It allows CashBet, which is currently raising funds through an initial coin offering, to display the team's crest and players' images on its website.

These examples highlight how marketers who strive to think creatively will find many effective ways to spread the word about legitimate cryptocurrency-related websites and services. However, they should still stay abreast of news associated with Facebook to be among the first to know if the site relaxes or otherwise alters the ban.