Facebook Reverses Cryptocurrency Ad Ban Amidst Rumors of a Coinbase Acquisition
Facebook has reversed its blanket ban on cryptocurrency ads and will now allow pre-approved crypto businesses to advertise. However, ICOs and binary options will still be prohibited from the platform.
In a published blog post, Facebook Product Management Director Rob Leathern said the company has refined the policy and will now "allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers."
Facebook’s January ban on cryptocurrency ads stemmed from ICO scams and the lack of regulation in the space at the time. The company was heavily criticized for the broadness of its ban which it justified by saying it was “intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices.”
Leathern explained why the social network was refining the ban six months after it went into effect. He said Facebook had "looked at the best way to refine this policy — to allow some ads while also working to ensure that they’re safe."
The refined policy from Facebook now requires crypto advertisers to apply to be listed on the platform, so Facebook will be able to scrutinize their eligibility by checking a host of details, including licensing and whether the company is publicly traded. Facebook believes this new policy is only a first step and the company says it will "listen to feedback" from advertisers as well as take time to continue studying the crypto space so it can be revised in due course.
While the reversal of the ban is good news for cryptocurrency firms, the move could give an insight into Facebook's ambition in the space. Earlier this year, the company launched an exploratory blockchain group to study the technology. Heading the group is David Marcus, who used to oversee Facebook Messenger and currently sits on the board of Coinbase.
The reversal comes at a time when rumors are circulating that Facebook may be looking to acquire Coinbase in a buyout, but nothing is concrete for now. If the rumors are substnatiated, Facebook's acquisition of Coinbase would likely give the industry a buff to its legitimacy.