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Facebook Reverses Crypto Ad Ban Following Metaverse, NFT Push

Let the crypto shilling begin!

3 min read
Facebook is now known as Meta. Image: Shutterstock.

Expect your aunts and uncles to start asking you a lot more questions about Bitcoin and NFTs.

That's because Facebook, the most-popular social media application in the U.S. among older adults, said today it would no longer prevent most cryptocurrency advertisements from appearing on the site.

"We’re doing this because the cryptocurrency landscape has continued to mature and stabilize in recent years and has seen more government regulations that are setting clearer rules for their industry," the company said in a statement. (Not all would agree that the regulatory landscape is clear, though regulators are certainly putting resources toward patrolling the space.) 

Whereas crypto advertisers—including exchanges, lending applications, wallets, and mining software—previously needed to present the social media company with a slew of information plus at least one of three regulatory licenses, they now just have to present any of 27 different licenses. 

Facebook, which recently renamed itself Meta to highlight its metaversal ambitions, first prohibited crypto ads on January 30, 2018, saying the ban was to protect mom-and-pop investors—the types of everyday folks who rely on the social network for hometown gossip and world news alike—from fraud.

"We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception," it wrote at the time. "That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith." It added that the policy was "intentionally broad" as it refined its tools for detecting deceptive ads.

Though the ban had ramifications across the Facebook platform and Meta properties such as Instagram, there were ways around it. Celebrity influencer Kim Kardashian, for example, posted a paid promotion on IG of Ethereum Max, a token that briefly did the rounds among celebrities this summer.

Though Facebook's blanket ad ban was decried across the crypto industry, its reversal comes at a suspiciously opportune time for the tech company. In addition to becoming more "mature" in recent years, crypto has gone mainstream, with Coinbase, Robinhood and other apps making assets easy to buy—and helping their prices skyrocket. There's money to be made, so hocking the product is no longer a bad look.

Ironically, the reversal comes just one day after Facebook executive David Marcus announced his departure from Novi, the crypto wallet Facebook has been creating since 2018. Marcus had steered Facebook's attempts to build its own cryptocurrency, Diem, which is yet to be released. 

If and when it is, your folks will probably read about it on Facebook.

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