With a change of policy, Google has announced a new hardline approach with a crackdown on cryptocurrency-related advertising.
Come June 2018, Google will ban online advertisements promoting any cryptocurrency-related content as a part of its newly updated financial services policy that introduces curbs on a handful of financial products including contracts for difference (CFDs), rolling spot forex and financial spread betting – all seen as high-risk products.
Aside from those binary options, an excerpt from Google’s ‘new restricted financial products policy’ reads the ban extends to:
Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice).
Furthermore, Google also said aggregator and affiliates using Google ads will no longer be allowed to host promotional material related to cryptocurrencies. In other words, Google is effectively disabling crypto-related advertising on its own website as well as third-party websites using its ad products. The ban, a move to effectively stamp out scams in the crypto space, will also impact legitimate or ‘regulated’ companies offering cryptocurrency services.
Speaking to CNBC, Google’s director of sustainable ads Scott Spencer explained the move as a precautionary measure to safeguard consumers.
“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.’
The shift in policy comes alongside the ad giant’s annual “bad ads” report which points to over 3.2 billion ads taken down in 2017 for violating Google’s advertising policies. Google also said it blacklisted 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps in violation of publisher policies.
Google’s ban follows a similar move by ad-rival Facebook which banned cryptocurrency-related advertising earlier in January. Facebook blamed ‘misleading or deceptive promotional practices’ adopted by companies promoting initial coin offerings or cryptocurrencies while updating its “intentionally broad” change in policy that will extend to other Facebook-owned platforms like Instagram. “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve,” Facebook said at the time.
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