Facebook bans cryptocurrency ads

FILE PHOTO: A coin representing the bitcoin cryptocurrency is seen on computer circuit boards in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. Reuters

Facebook has banned ads that promote cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICO) and binary options trading from its platforms. The ad ban would include facebook owned platforms like Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger.

A Facebook statement on January 30 said that the new policy prohibits ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.

Rob Leathern, Product Management Director at Facebook said, "We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear or scams or deception." Facebook Management Director also said that there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not operating in good faith.

The enforcement would be rapidly imposed on different Facebook platforms. The social media giant has also asked its users to report any content that violates its advertising policies. People can report any ads by clicking on its upper right-hand corner.

The company stated that its advertising principles are based on two core beliefs that ads should be safe and that we build for people first. The social media giant officials stated, "Misleading or deceptive ads have no place on Facebook,".

The Facebook ban has come after frequent cyber attacks on cryptocurrency blockchain wallets. Hackers have recently stolen cryptocurrency Etherium of worth $150,000 by tricking people to participate in a cryptocurrency Initial Coin Offering (ICO), a fund-raising pre-sale of an upcoming cryptocurrency, and guiding them to make payments into fraudulent wallet address.

The hacker targeted an ICO of Experty (EXY), an upcoming blockchain which has been scheduled for January 31 and promoted a fake token sale in its name. Many users couldn't identify the fake fund-raising campaign which was developed with a "Skype-like voice and video application" and hence, people fell into the trap.

Users who had already signed up for information regarding the ICO sale of upcoming blockchain based application, started to receive emails announcing a pre-ICO sale of the tokens.

It asked the users to send money to an Etherium wallet to buy the EXY tokens and to be a part of the ICO. The phishing emails contained offers of extra tokens for buyers who made their purchase within next 12 hours.

Buyers who believed in the email which contained spelling and grammatical errors transferred about 74 Etherium funds which value around $150,000 to the fraudulent wallet address in the mail.

Another blockchain wallet known as "Black wallet" had been hacked earlier this month. The cyber attackers looted digital currency worth $400,000 from its wallet.

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange You bit was shut down in December following two attacks in two months. Cryptocurrency mining market NiceHash faced a loss of $60 million Bitcoin during a hack in December. NiceHash co-founder Marko Kobal resigned after the loss.

China and South Korea have banned cryptocurrency exchange and there is a global demand to improve the security of the digital currency.

Bitcoin and other digital currencies have fallen earlier this month causing fears among its investors. Bitcoin has fallen below the value of $10,000 from $20,000 in a month.

This article was first published on January 31, 2018
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