Exclusive: Facebook Ban on Crypto Ads Amounts to Censorship, says Blockchain Developer Stepwyze

The move by Facebook to ban all ICO and cryptocurrency-related ads is a form of censorship, says an industry participant.


The sweeping ban imposed by social media giant Facebook on all ads related to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) is a form of censorship that could eventually prove detrimental to the company itself, according to a blockchain expert.

In an exclusive interview with Cryptovest, Todd Kandaris of blockchain consultancy and development firm, Stepwyze, said that Facebook may be turning “obsolete in their thought process” because it is trying to enforce a centralized vision in a decentralized future.

“Facebook is going against its own principle of promoting social freedom. [The ban] works against their interest. If you think about it, if there is a prevalent movement in one direction and if any entity chooses to go against that for whatever reason, they face an existential threat. They may become obsolete because the world wants to go one way, and for whatever agenda they may have, they do not see that, they are working against their interest.”

The strong rebuke from Kandaris comes after Facebook product management director Rob Leathern announced that the social media platform would ban all ads related to ICOs and cryptocurrencies in a bid to protect its users from misleading or deceptive ads.

Leathern said in an official statement on Tuesday: "We've created a new policy that 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.”

But Kandaris disagrees with the rationale. He said the ban was probably a “bad move” on the part of Facebook.

Censorship or discrimination?

According to Kandaris, Facebook a classic example of a centralized type of social network trying to maintain “control” in an evolving decentralized social system.

By offering its products and services to certain types of industries and customers but not to a specific sector, it is, in reality, enforcing censorship. Kandaris said he understands that Facebook as a company has a "freedom of association," but this move amid the shift towards decentralization across various cultures as the direct result of blockchain is an example of Facebook showing its age.

“Sometimes when things are starting, and they are excited and showing great things, then [suddenly] they get in the mode of self-preservation,” Kandaris said of the decision to ban crypto-related ads.

He also dismissed Facebook’s notion that by banning blockchain ads it would somehow become a major driver in increasing ICO accountability, explaining that with or without Facebook, “these things will happen.”

It’s a misguided move that could result in millions of dollars in lost revenues, “which they may or may not need.”

However, the ban could also push forward a more decentralized social media network, like Steemit or a similar platform, he said.

One thing is clear, Kandaris said, namely that the ban has placed Facebook in a less favorable position with the masses. After all, the vision for blockchain is to empower the poor by leveling the playing field.

“This is a tectonic shift in the way that the world exchanges value. And so any organization or structure that ignores that does so at their own peril. Facebook is a nice social medium, but I don't see them as a leader in setting the pace for ads or marketing. They can be used that way, but in reality and without being too harsh, why should we care?” Kandaris concluded.