Facebook Updates Crypto Advertising Policy - Great For Advertisers, But What About Users?

Another dip overnight in the cryptocurrency markets sees the global cryptocurrency market cap down by $7 billion to $246 billion, Bitcoin fell by $120 to $6109 and Ethereum dropped $12 to $437.

Facebook have announced changes to their advertising policies regarding cryptocurrency related advertising after its blanket ban on all crypto advertising back in January this year. Changes were expected to happen at some point due to the initial wording when the original ban was launched stating at the time “this policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices... We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.” Advertisers now need to submit to an approval process “to help us assess their eligibility — including any licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business” The advertising of ICOs (initial coin offerings) is still banned along with binary options, however if an advertiser meets the requirements and is able to supply sufficient documentation, the advertising of crypto related products and services is theoretically possible again on Facebook.

Some interesting points however lie deeper in the “Facebook Cryptocurrency Ads Addendum” link right at the bottom of the onboarding form (which you have to agree to), specifically sections 5 and 6 which cover Indemnification and Waiver:

Section 5. Indemnification. If anyone brings a claim, cause of action, or dispute against Facebook, its agents, or affiliates or their respective directors, officers, or employees, related to your use of Facebook to advertise, promote, market, or post Cryptocurrency Content, you agree to indemnify and hold us harmless from and against all damages, losses, and expenses of any kind (including reasonable legal fees and costs) related to any such claim, cause of action, or dispute.

Essentially in Section 5 Facebook is saying – you can advertise, but we are not responsible if someone sues. Under general advertising circumstances this would be standard practice – however, because Facebook are requiring significant company background information such as licenses and so on to – as they state “to help us assess their eligibility” it somewhat makes a mockery of what they claim to be doing – if they are that confident of their ability to assess an advertiser – surely they should bear an element of responsibility?

Section 6. Waiver. The failure of Facebook at any time to require performance of any provision of the Agreement shall not affect in any way the full right to require the performance at any subsequent time. The waiver by Facebook of a breach of any provision of the Agreement shall not be taken or held to be a waiver of the provision itself.

Section 6 arguably adds further comedy to the new policy when broken down in laymen terms. The statement in Section 6 effectively says if an advertiser is able to be approved that shouldn’t be (basically if dodgy advertiser is able to get through the approval process and Facebook fail to realise they should not be approved), Section 6 absolves Facebook of any wrongdoing at any time – distancing Facebook further still from any lawsuits.

Whilst the policy changes are welcomed by the cryptocurrency sector, the implication that Facebook are “being responsible” by requesting business documentation (which also brings up a number of other conflicting points when taking into account jurisdictions and licenses as covered on Cryptoglobe) just isn’t true – if Facebook were genuinely making an attempt to ensure only legitimate ads and products were being served by its platform – they would accept an element of responsibility. Of course, no ad platform has ever been bullet-proof from rogue advertisers, but Facebook has come under fire a number of times over its claim to responsible advertising as we reported in April on the news of financial evangelist Martin Lewis and his defamation suit against Facebook for running ads featuring images of him.

The story of his ongoing plight with Facebook over the issue highlighted a point that is still yet to be dealt with properly under the new policy after the changes – the burden of reporting fraudulent ads is laid at the feet of the user to report the ads. Martin Lewis has written a lengthy article on his findings as a result of his legal action to date.

Suggestions that other advertising platforms may well relax their stance on crypto advertising are rife of course; however, one has to wonder what the driving force behind the policy changes at Facebook?

Some might suggest Facebook could be going down the road of creating its own cryptocurrency – whilst plausible, personally I would say this is still highly unlikely for the same reasons the last time we reported on the subject.

There are only 2 reasons for the change in policy – advertising revenue combined with sufficiently well-written legal wordage that (attempts) to absolve Facebook of any actual responsibility. The concept of protecting users with their policy changes is a substantial stretch at best.

As always wherever financial propositions are concerned – do your own research. Not all ads are evil, but never rely just on what an ad says and hope for the best.

New ICO Ratings on ICOformula:

Hirego (HGO)
Metacert Protocol (META)
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Dan Service (DANS)
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Created: Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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