Starting in June, Internet giant Google will pull the plug on advertisements related to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) as part of a sweeping crackdown on high-risk and unregulated financial products.
Google’s decision follows a similar move by Facebook, which ordered a ban on digital asset advertisements in January.
Scott Spencer, director of sustainable ads at Google, told CNBC:
"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.”
In an official post, Google said it would update its financial services ad policies with effect from June this year, banning ads that push “binary options and synonymous products and cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice).”
Where aggregators and affiliates or third-party websites are concerned, Google will no longer be accepting ads about “contracts for difference, financial spread betting, binary options and synonymous products, rolling spot forex, and cryptocurrencies and related content.”
In a separate report, Bloomberg said that Google had removed some 79 million ads which lured online users to websites infected with malware. It also suspended 7,000 advertising accounts found to have impersonated a news article or what is known as "tabloid cloaking." In addition, the company blocked over 12,000 websites for copying information from other news organizations.
Facebook ban is censorship
In a January interview for Cryptovest, Todd Kandaris of blockchain consultancy and development firm Stepwyze described Facebook’s sweeping ban on cryptocurrency and ICO-related ads as a form of censorship.
"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."