Facebook reverses cryptocurrency ad ban, ICOs still barred
The principled crypto ad ban may not have been worth the headache.
Why the rollback?
There are several possible reasons why Facebook would roll back on its crypto ad ban just a few months after putting it in place. The main reason is probably because it's just good business.
Crypto is naturally social, community-focused and a distinct field of interest in its own right, so Facebook might be a uniquely effective tool for reaching into those communities and advertising to specific users. Barring ICOs keeps out some of the most blatant scams, and now that the SEC and other regulatory bodies around the world are clearing up the legal status of different kinds of crypto, while the space itself gets more legitimacy, it's more apparent that there are opportunities for legitimate advertising.
It could also help avoid problems with being left behind as cryptocurrency-like systems make their way into the real world. In the medium term, an outright crypto ad ban actually leaves more grey areas than this new kind of semi-ban.
For example, would an airline be able to advertise on Facebook if it has a blockchain-based loyalty points program? Technically it probably shouldn't because those frequent flyer points are arguably a cryptocurrency. At the same time, it obviously should be able to because it's obviously an airline, not a crypto company. Any serious advertising platform won't be able to keep an outright ban on crypto for long without running into these kinds of problems, so dropping the ban makes a lot of sense.
It might also help Facebook cover itself legally. An ad ban is easier said than done. There have been plenty of scam-esque ads creeping in around the edges, such as ads for unlicensed and unregulated crypto derivatives. Facebook is being sued for failing to prevent these damaging ads. A key point in the lawsuit might be that the ads themselves aren't even allowed under Facebook Terms and Conditions, yet it keeps accepting them and putting them back up. In that respect, Facebook's ad ban reversal might just be the site accepting that there's little point in sacrificing revenue just to make rules it can't enforce.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, NANO
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