We saw an interesting announcement come out of Facebook a couple of days ago (Wednesday). The world’s premier social network is going to loosen up a little its famous ban on ads about blockchain and cryptocurrencies. So businesses who offer services based on digital assets or related to blockchain technology will now be able to tap into those 2.38 billion of Facebook users.
Facebook went against the blockchain industry in January 2018, as it started to block publicity related to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. The company’s rationale was to protect users from possible scams (as that plethora of ICO’s was deemed to be by many observers). Then, in June it started to run ads from companies that had previous approval (on writing). The new policy will allow many other companies to be publicized on Facebook without special permission.
Facebook explained its position thus:
“We’ve listened to feedback and assessed the policy’s effectiveness. […] While we will still require people to apply to run ads promoting cryptocurrency, starting today, we will narrow this policy to no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency.”
Over the last year, the company has had to face examination regarding its policies because they reach so widely.
CNBC reported in last October about Facebook’s ban’s harmful impact on Bloom. It’s a start-up based in San Francisco. It aims to use blockchain technology in helping its customers to keep their online personal data under control.
Bloom spent a lot of money buying Facebook ads to promote its platform (we’re talking six figures), only to be suddenly banned in October. Mind you, this is a blockchain company, but it’s not a cryptocurrency trading platform.
“It’s good to see them (hopefully) evolve their stance on new technology that puts users in control of their data,” said a statement from Bloom.
Facebook, blockchains and the future
And it’s possible that Facebook is just trying to clear the environment as it gets ready to get involved with blockchain technology itself.
It’s been known that Facebook has been developing a blockchain project of some kind for months. The firm has been very reticent about the project’s particulars. It announced very publicly that it was putting together a team of key people to explore the possibilities that blockchains could offer to Facebook.
Bloomberg is on the record reporting that Zuckerberg’s company is trying to come up with a stablecoin (a cryptocurrency backed by a physical asset). It would be incorporated into WhatsApp so that the messaging app users can exchange value within the network.
Apart from rumors, it’s known that Facebook has been recruiting help from many financial firms, e-trading companies, and other financial institutions to support its still unknown blockchain project.
So maybe Facebook is trying to be fairer. Perhaps it’s realized the amount of money it’s losing by denying ads to the cryptocurrency industry. Or maybe it just wants to soften its own position on crypto so that it won’t be too severely criticized when it finally releases its own cryptocurrency or blockchain project of any kind. And it could be a little bit of all three factors. Time what’s behind Facebook actions.
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