Facebook has taken an abrupt and no-tolerance approach to regulating the influence of cryptocurrencies on their platform by banning all advertisements related to ICOs, Bitcoin, and crypto assets of any kind. It’s a bold maneuver that sends a very clear message:
We will not tolerate any advertising activities performed in poor faith, and we’re willing to throw out the good with the bad to make our point.
My initial reaction to this is one of certain surprise, and borderline shock. I’ve never seen Facebook take such decisive action against a particular type of ad, especially when it isn’t obviously offensive or provocative. They’re approach to regulating cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in the wake of this announcement seems most similar to that of China — “we’re not sure where this is going, and we intend to completely ban it until we figure it out.”
The statement released by Facebook has suggested that the company will be open to reconsidering their stance once they’ve had time to come up with a good way to differentiate between malicious content and well-intentioned advertising. They are also surely waiting on governments around the world to make more progress on their own regulation of blockchain powered Fintech.
In the meantime, it looks like Facebook has learned something from the bad press and controversy that surrounded their platform in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential elections in the United States. They’ve decided to take their social responsibility of protecting consumers from malicious advertising seriously; they’re not prepared to risk a repeat PR nightmare over allowing their users to be exposed to crypto scams or misleadingly “safe” investment opportunities, nor are they interested in participating in ethically questionable business practices.
On one hand, I admire their decisiveness in taking action on an issue that surely poses a threat to the average consumer who knows very little about crypto. As the crypto markets explode in popularity and value, many ICO scams are taking advantage of the opportunity to compel average people on Facebook to get involved in the growth. The real growth, meanwhile, is happening in the bank accounts of the people behind the ICOs and crypto startups, while many of the original investors are left with assets that are either stagnating or rapidly falling in value.
But as a freelance marketer myself, this certainly makes my job that much harder. I work with several crypto startups who I consider to have legitimate proposals for building a functioning company, and the marketing we have done up until this point has relied heavily on Facebook. It’s a robust platform that allows companies to put their content and value-propositions in front of a targeted audience at a reasonable price. Without that opportunity on the world’s largest social network, we’re going to have to get creative in thinking of ways to continue to get our message out there. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — great opportunities come in times of great change!
Have any thoughts or comments about Facebook’s new advertising policy? Leave them below!