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Google bans cryptocurrency ads in crackdown on ‘speculative financial products’

Google has announced a unilateral ban on advertising from all cryptocurrency companies, three months after Facebook made a similar proclamation.  

The world’s biggest online advertising platform is to change its advertising policy for “speculative financial products”, which includes products like Bitcoin and foreign exchange markets.

The restriction will apply to Google’s search platform,  YouTube and third-party websites where Google sells advertising space through AdSense.

In January, Facebook claimed it would block initial coin offering ads as “they are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”. Together the two platforms account for the majority of digital advertising expenditure.

The move came as part of Google’s announcement that it had removed 3.2 billion ‘bad ads’ in 2017, almost double the amount removed during the previous year.

In a blog posted today, Google claimed it also blocked 79 million ads that directed people to malware-laden sites and 320,000 ‘bad’ publishers.

Additionally, the Silicon Valley powerhouse said it blocked more than 12,000 websites for copying content from other sites.

The announcement follows something of a year of hell for Google, whereby the search giant faced a number of scandals related to brand safety,  claims of Russia fiddling with the US election through its ad platforms and fraudulent traffic. 

Nevertheless, the scandals have yet to hit Google’s coffers. Last year, the web giant and Facebook collectively took roughly two-thirds of US digital ad revenues.

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