Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Google to ban ads for cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings in broad crackdown

Google to ban ads for cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings in broad crackdown

Google is set to ban ads that promote cryptocurrencies from its network from June, part of a tightening of its rules on more complex financial products.

The updates are created to protect users from "ads in unregulated or speculative financial products", Google's director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer said in a March 14 blog.

Google is cracking down on advertisements about cryptocurrencies and related offerings like ICOs in an update to its Financial Services ad policy. Google's director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, said in a blog post: "We updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference (or CFDs)". Google introduced policies on such content in 2016, banning its ads from appearing on website that offer deceptive content, such as selling fake diplomas or certificates. The company also pointed to constant updating of its policy. The decision by Google will affect ads displayed both in its search results and YouTube.

In January, Facebook took the similar move in which the company left the two largest web-ad sellers out of reach of the nascent digital-currency sector.

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We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. Cryptocurrencies have experienced a boost in consumer interest after digital assets like ethereum, bitcoin and others exploded in value over the past year. Another report suggested that Google was "quietly purging cryptocurrency ads" and suspending accounts.

Google will use the same technology to ban cryptocurrency advertising as it uses against the promotion of counterfeit items or sexually explicit content.

In another post, Google wrote that in 2017 it took down more than 3.2 billion ads in violation of its policies. We blocked 79 million ads in our network for attempting to send people to malware-laden sites, and removed 400,000 of these unsafe sites previous year. From June ads for such products will no longer be served on Google's affiliate advertisement networks, while advertising through AdWords will require certification by Google, which "is only available in certain countries".

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