Google is to update its financial services policy in June of this year in order to ban cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) advertising from its platforms. The move means that adverts will no longer be displayed in its search listings, on YouTube and also third party sites who utilise its advertising platforms. The announcement caused a dip in the value of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.
The new policy implemented by Google will cover promotional campaigns, Bitcoin exchanges, digital wallets and trading advice. It is understood that Google has made this decision in order to shield its users from what it sees as potentially highly speculative and complex trades, which it feels do not have sufficient consumer protection in place.
The move follows Facebook’s own ban on adverts earlier this year, who at the time said that operators were not “acting in good faith”. Since the move by Facebook, some cryptocurrency advertisers have found workarounds in order to continue advertising on Facebook, by swapping letters for numbers or purposely misspelling words. Google has stated that it will be working to anticipate potential loopholes and close them, in order to prevent illicit adverts slipping through the net.
Both of the online giants have become increasingly concerned about the amount of ‘scam’ style adverts for cryptocurrency and ICOs, which promise significant returns or ‘get rich quick’ schemes, but either fail or do not return the investments promised. With cryptocurrency currently unregulated, some consumers have been stung by scams without the protection offered by other financial investments. Google is also cracking down on adverts for contracts for difference (CFD), spread betting, and foreign exchange products on its platform. The platform has claimed that it removed 3.2 billion so called ‘bad ads’ last year as it aims to improve the ad experience for users.
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