Google is to boycott digital currency adverts following a comparative move by Facebook that sees the two goliaths of internet publicizing blocking controversial cryptocurrency promotions.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are unregulated and many adverts promoting Bitcoin are misleading or scams. Google’s ban will cover Google’s Ad Words advertising products and YouTube, blocking adverts on cryptocurrencies including so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Adverts promoting cryptocurrency and ICOs, which see people buying volatile tokens in the hope they will go up in value, have spread following the surge in interest in Bitcoin in 2017.
Many adverts appear to be scams, offering get-rich-quick schemes or encouraging people to invest in risky and unregulated ICOs, many of which have failed or even vanished with investor money. The price of Bitcoin fell around $400 this morning to $8,895, according to CoinDesk.
From June, advertisers will be blocked from posting adverts on several other controversial financial products. “This year, we updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products,” said Google director sustainable ads Scott Spencer.
While cryptocurrency advertising will be totally blocked, adverts on speculative products such as binary options, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference will only be available to certain certified advertisers, according to the new Google AdWords policy. Affiliate adverts, which take a cut for referring new customers to these products, will be totally banned.
The move follows a similar ban by Facebook in January. Facebook said at the time most cryptocurrency advertisers were not “operating in good faith”.
Google’s ban would affect adverts on YouTube, which has become a haven of cryptocurrency news and advice.
YouTube has been battling to deal with fake news and hate-speech and was yesterday summoned before the Home Affairs Select Committee for failing to delete several videos associated with National Action, a UK neo-Nazi terrorist group.
Shockingly weak evidence from @YouTube today. Blamed failure to remove illegal National Action videos on 4 reviewers – but couldn’t tell us why they failed, how they are trained, how many of them there are, which country they are in, whether they are employed or contractors pic.twitter.com/Aeh4Mw6gBo
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) March 13, 2018
YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki also said yesterday that YouTube was limiting the number of hours its content moderators would look at disturbing videos to four hours per day, due to the strain disturbing and violent content was having on their mental health, according to The Verge.