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After Facebook, Google bans ads on unregulated cryptocurrencies, foreign exchange markets

BusinessToday.In     March 14, 2018

Google is one-stop destination for all the information in the world. Maintaining a data base of such a gigantic scale is no easy task even for the world's best tech company like Google. Every year, Google is faced with new threats from hackers and scammers trying to make money through deceptive and misleading advertising practices. These 'trick-to-click' ads and 'click-bate' ads can often lure innocent and unaware people to invest their hard-earned money in such schemes only to get fleeced. To address such ads in unregulated or speculative financial products, Google has banned binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets, and contracts for difference (CFDs). The world's biggest search engine has said that the step has been taken to combat emerging threats and improve the ads experience online.

"Last year, we added 28 new advertiser policies and 20 new publisher policies to combat new threats and improve the ads experience online. This year, we updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference," said Google. The company has also updated its gambling ads policies to address new methods of gambling with items that have real-world value (e.g., skins gambling).

Google has said in 2017, it took down over 3.2 billion ads that violated their advertising policies. "That's more than 100 bad ads per second!" said the company, adding that it blocked a majority of bad ads like malvertising and phishing scams.

Google is not the first big company to ban ads on financial products. The world's biggest social media platform, Facebook, has already banned such ads from Facebook and Instagram. Facing a lot of criticism over the use of fake news to influence public opinion on the network, Facebook has also tightened its content publishing policy. So, ads like 'Use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin' and 'New ICO! Buy tokens at a 15% discount Now!' will automatically be banned on Facebook, said the company.

On January 31, Facebook said it would ban advertisements promoting initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency like Bitcoin on Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram. The new rule "prohibits ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency," it said.

Though cryptocurrencies have gained enormous popularity in the past two-three years, suspicion around their legality and regulation has always made these virtual currencies vulnerable to bans by big online platforms. The Indian government in December 2017 had also cautioned investors to be wary of virtual currencies like Bitcoin, calling them "Ponzi schemes with no legal tender and protection".

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also issued strict guidelines against investing in cryptocurrencies. Apart from keeping a track on the cryptocurrency exchanges operating across the country, the government has introduced the Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018, which might also spell serious repercussions for bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

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