Google To Ban Cryptocurrency And ICO Ads

Announcements, Investing, News, Regulation | March 14, 2018 By:

Google will ban ads for cryptocurrencies and “speculative financial products” across its advertising platforms starting in June.

In an interview with CNBC, Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads, said the company is updating its financial services-related ad policies to ban any advertising about cryptocurrency-related content, including initial coin offerings (ICO), wallets, and trading advice. Google would also restrict the advertisement of contracts for difference (CFD), rolling spot forex, and financial spread betting.

“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution,” said Spencer.

Google said that last year, it took down over 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising policies, removed 320,000 publishers from its ad network for violating its 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,” said Spencer.

Facebook took a similar step in January, banning all ads that promote cryptocurrencies in an effort to stamp out what it characterizes as “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

Last month, Jason Roy, senior investigator for the Manitoba Securities Commission in Canada, praised Facebook’s decision to ban cryptocurrency advertising, and indicated that it has implored Google to adopt a similar policy.

“What happened is that Canada’s Binary Options Task Force, as well as the FBI, explained to Facebook what the concerns were and that these types of ads are leading to people becoming victims,” Roy said. “We’ve been talking to Google and had similar discussions and are waiting for them to take similar action. “My hope is that Google will enact a similar policy, where they specifically name products like binary options, ICOs, and cryptocurrencies.”