Illuminated signage is displayed at the Facebook Inc. Hack Station in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photographer: Patricia Monteiro/Bloomberg)

Facebook Loosens Ban on Cryptocurrency Ads for Approved Vendors

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is loosening its ban on advertisements that promote cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, saying such content will be allowed on the social network after going through an application process to determine the safety and legitimacy of the products.

The company first said it was blocking such ads in January, noting that they were often associated with misleading and deceptive practices. Facebook will continue to prohibit ads for other risky financial products including binary options and initial coin offerings, according to a blog post on Tuesday.

Facebook’s application for approval to run cryptocurrency ads will look at aspects of the businesses that can ensure users aren’t getting scammed, including “any licenses they have obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business,” the Menlo Park, California-based company said in the post.

“Given these restrictions, not everyone who wants to advertise will be able to do so,” Facebook said. “But we’ll listen to feedback, look at how well this policy works and continue to study this technology so that, if necessary, we can revise it over time.”

Even during the ban, some cryptocurrency ads found their way onto Facebook’s sites by using workarounds to get through the company’s filters. The revised policy comes a few weeks after Facebook started its own blockchain division, to explore ways for the technology to be used in its products.

Facebook shares, which have gained 12 percent this year, rose less than 1 percent to $198.25 at 3:02 p.m. in New York.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.