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Facebook to ban cryptocurrency ads

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MUMBAI: Facebook is banning ads on its social network that promote cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and binary options saying they’re “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

In a blog post on Tuesday, the company outlined a new policy prohibiting ads that "promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices."

The policy will be “intentionally broad” while Facebook works to understand which ads are deceptive or misleading, from companies “not currently operating in good faith,” the company said in the post. Facebook, along with its other properties including Instagram, won’t allow ads that say "Use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin!" for example, or those that promote binary options trading, a risky derivative with an all-or-nothing payoff.

As public interest in bitcoin and other digital currencies has skyrocketed, Facebook users may have seen an uptick in ads for investing in cryptocurrencies. Late last year, bitcoin's popularity and value surged. In December, one bitcoin was worth $17,000. It has since fallen to $10,000.

"We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception," Facebook product management director Rob Leathern wrote in the post. "That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith."

A spokesman for Facebook said ad policies will be enforced through both automated and manual reviews, and ads that lead to websites where the main business model is cryptocurrency, ICOs, or binary options won't be allowed. Facebook users can also report ads that they believe violate the policy.

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