March 15, 2018
Google announced its intention to ban advertisements related to risky financial products, including any that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), beginning this June. This is part of an update to Google’s policy and seems to closely resemble a similar ban announced by Facebook in January. However, reports indicate that ad makers have found workarounds within Facebook (like typing “Bitc0in” with a zero instead of “Bitcoin”). Google plans to anticipate these sorts of workarounds in advance of the ban.
Currently, when you type the word “Bitcoin” in the Google search bar and press enter, the top of the results page features an ad promoting the purchase of Bitcoin. This will no longer be the case come June, according to The Verge.
Additionally, “Ads that violate [Facebook's] new policy will be banned on Facebook’s core app,” notes Recode, “but also in other places where Facebook sells ads, including Instagram and its ad network, Audience Network, which places ads on third-party apps.”
Why are tech giants moving to ban these sorts of ads? Because Bitcoin and other such cryptocurrencies are “notoriously volatile and governments are also clamping down on the digital tokens. India has said it doesn’t consider Bitcoin to be legal tender, China is increasingly cracking down on digital currencies, while Korea is planning a bill to ban all domestic cryptocurrency trading,” reports The Verge.
In a company blog post, Google reported that in 2017, it took down over 3.2 billion ads that violated its policies. “We removed 320,000 publishers from our ad network for violating our publisher policies, and blacklisted nearly 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps.”
“Improving the ads experience across the web, whether that’s removing harmful ads or intrusive ads, will continue to be a top priority for us,” wrote Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads at Google, in the post.