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Google has updated its policies around financial services ads, with the result that any advertising for cryptocurrencies, ICOs, wallets or trading advice will be banned from all Google platforms.

The new policy, which will come into effect in June this year, tightens up advertising around financial spread betting and foreign exchange trading, while entirely removing the option to place ads for binary options and “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)”.

The ban will cover Google Adwords, Google-owned platforms like YouTube, and 3rd party sites where Google sells advertising. Even well-established companies with respected products will be prevented from advertising.

The move comes after Facebook enacted a similar ban earlier this year. Rob Leathern, Product Management Director at Facebook, said that “misleading or deceptive ads have no place on Facebook”; cryptocurrencies and ICOs would no longer be allowed to advertise as they are “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”.  

Though the cryptocurrency sector is rightly associated with innovation and growth, there are also a large number of bad actors taking advantage of public enthusiasm. A long series of scams and phishing attempts has forced internet companies to reconsider how they deal with cryptocurrencies.

Twitter admitted last week that the company was aware that there was widespread cryptocurrency-related phishing on the platform, and that it was taking measures to “prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner”.

According to Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads at Google, negative experiences “whether it’s a one-off accident or a coordinated action by scammers” will hurt “the entire ecosystem” of an ad-supported free web. Battling against these negative experiences, Google removed 3.2 billion ads in 2017, or 100 ads for every second of the year.

Spencer explained to CNBC that as far as cryptocurrencies were concerned, “we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution”. However, he did not close the door to a reversal of the ban down the line. “We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies”, he said.

Image From Shutterstock

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