Twitter joins Facebook, Google in banning crypto coin sale ads

Twitter is joining Facebook and Google in banning advertisements for initial coin offerings and token sales on its social-media platform.

“Advertisement of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales will be prohibited globally,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement Monday. “We know that this type of content is often associated with deception and fraud, both organic and paid, and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner.”

The decision comes after Facebook banned cryptocurrency ads in January and Alphabet’s Google said it would ban such ads starting in June, as part of a broader effort to crack down on deceptive and misleading advertising on their platforms. Social-media platforms are keeping cryptos away as regulators cast an increasingly wary eye on the sector globally.

How we regulate cryptocurrencies and ICOs is key to their success

The US Securities and Exchange Commission sent a number of subpoenas earlier this month to ICO teams it suspects are breaking securities regulations, and it has warned since July that some of the offerings may be breaking securities regulations. Twitter said on March 7 that it was implementing measures to prevent crypto scams.

Cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet services ads will be limited to those that are provided by a public company listed on major stock markets, and in Japan, these will be limited to crypto exchanges regulated by the nation’s Financial Services Agency, the Twitter spokesperson said.

Crypto ad bans on major social-media platforms have weighed on the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin slid 6 per cent on Tuesday, approaching the US$8,000 level, and is down more than 50 per cent from an all time high of almost US$20,000 in December.

Paid search sends less than 1 per cent of traffic to cryptocurrency exchange sites, so the effect of crypto ad bans may be limited, according to research by website SimilarWeb, published Monday.

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