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Twitter follows Google and Facebook, bans cryptocurrency and ICO ads

Twitter

Twitter has said that it will ban advertisements that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) starting from Tuesday. The move follows other social media platforms like Facebook and Google, which have already banned cryptocurrency ads.

“Under this new policy, the advertisement of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales will be prohibited globally,” the company told the media in a statement. “We know that this type of content is often associated with deception and fraud, both organic and paid, and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner.”

Google and Facebook have done the same

Twitter’s move mirrors actions implemented by Facebook and Google, the two giants in the web advertising domain. Facebook had banned advertising of cryptocurrencies on its platforms in January, saying that these are “financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”. The ban included offerings like binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.

Ads that violate the company’s new policy will be banned on Facebook’s core app, but also in other places where Facebook sells ads, including Instagram and its ad network, Audience Network, which places ads on third-party apps.

Google had said earlier this month that it will ban advertisements that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) starting from June. According to the company, the move is part of an update to its policy, which will also ban other risky financial products. The policy states that ads for aggregators and affiliates will no longer be able to display “cryptocurrencies and related content.”

In a blog post, the search giant highlighted all the products that can no longer be advertised “including but not limited to initial coin offerings (ICO), cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice.”

B!tc0in @ds?

In February, Bloomberg reported that cryptocurrency ads have found their way onto Facebook despite the ban, using a workaround popular with email spammers: changing the spelling. It was not even done with any degree of sophistication, one simple workaround was replacing the letter ‘o’ with the number ‘0’ (even Nigerian princes try harder). A Google spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the company’s policies will try to anticipate workarounds like this.

Jack Dorsey loves Bitcoins though

An interesting aspect of this ban is that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has publicly been very bullish about the future of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. In an interview with UK newspaper Sunday Times last week, Dorsey had said “The world ultimately will have a single currency, the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin,” Dorsey said. He added that the timeline would play out “probably over ten years, but it could go faster.”

Dorsey has also contributed to a $2.5 million seed round for Lightning Labs, an American startup focused on the Lightning Network, a protocol that layers on top of a cryptocurrency like bitcoin. That layer aims to speed things up by creating a secondary channel with its own mini digital ledger that keeps excess traffic off of a congested blockchain.

Dorsey also intends to continue supporting bitcoin through Square, his mobile payments company. Square Cash added support for bitcoin last year and the feature recently rolled out to all Square Cash users.

With this advertising ban though, it seems Dorsey’s enthusiasm for Bitcoins does not extend to other cryptocurrencies.

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