Facebook retreats from crypto ad ban
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced the parent company’s name is being changed to “Meta” to represent a future beyond just its troubled social network.
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The move comes after the company, which is now called Meta, tried and failed to launch a cryptocurrency that could be used to send money online to anyone in the world via Facebook products. The head of Facebook’s cryptocurrency efforts, David Marcus, announced on Tuesday that he will be leaving the company at the end of the year.
Previously, the company said advertisers could submit an application and include information including any licenses they obtained, whether they were traded on a public stock exchange or other relevant public background on their business.
Going forward, the company is expanding the number of regulatory licenses it accepts to 27 from 3.
“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.
The company banned cryptocurrency ads in January 2018 but scaled back that ban slightly in May 2019. The ban had prevented start-ups in the cryptocurrency and blockchain fields to promote their work and reach potential customers on Facebook and Instagram.
Henry Love, a former employee on Facebook’s small business team, said the company’s new policy is huge for the crypto industry and will allow more retail investors to access cryptocurrencies than ever before.
“With more openness and transparency for what crypto companies can do, we will see more adoption for the cryptocurrency industry and the metaverse than ever before,” said Love, managing partner of Fundamental Labs, which has invested $500 million in the cryptocurrency industry since 2016. “This is a game changer for mass adoption.”
Emad Hasan, another former Facebook employee, said the new policy will also be a boon for start-ups working on blockchain, which is the technology used to make cryptocurrencies work.
“These companies had been in a spot where they couldn’t advertise on Facebook. They couldn’t drive people to convert fiat currency into cryptocurrency,” said Hasan, CEO of Retina AI, a start-up that helps brands target high-value customers on social media. “This will enable the average day-to-day person to do this.”
Facebook has scaled back its own ambitions in cryptocurrency significantly over the last year. After outlining plans for a currency and a digital wallet in 2019, Facebook faced stiff backlash from lawmakers and regulators worldwide. The company finally released its digital wallet product, Novi, in October. But the digital currency, which is now named Diem and is run by an independent association, remains unreleased to the public.
Clarification: After publication, a company spokesperson noted that Facebook will continue to reject cryptocurrency ads from companies that do not submit one of the 27 regulatory licenses the company is accepting.