A new report has revealed that Bing, an advertisement and search engine platform owned by Microsoft, blocked over five million crypto-related ads in 2018 alone.
The report, which was titled “Ad quality year in review,” was put on the company’s official blog on March 25. The company’s post provided details into its efforts to ensure that its ecosystem was safe for all, particularly for end users and publishers.

According to the post, it was revealed that the company’s takedown of bad accounts more than doubled in 2018, as it focused primarily on weapons, cryptocurrency, and third-party tech support scams.

Bing Crypto Ads

In total, the search engine was able to suspend about 200,000 accounts, while getting rid of over 900 million ads and 300,000 “bad sites” on its Bing Ads platform in 2018.

Mixing AI with Human Oversight

Bing’s approach, according to the blog, includes a combination of both human examiners and Artificial Intelligence technology. This is in addition to evaluating every ad that enters into the system against the company’s Ads policies, to ensure compliance and acceptability.

The company’s post reads:

“We know that scammers will keep evolving their techniques to try to circumvent our protection mechanisms, but we continue to invest in staying ahead of the curve. Any non-compliant ad reported by our users is quickly acted upon by our human review experts and incorporated into our automated detection systems.”


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An Industry United Against Crypto?

Back in May 2018, Bing made a move to ban all cryptocurrency-related ads on its platform. Back then, the company noted in an official blog post that “advertising for cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency-related products, and unregulated binary options” will be disallowed, with the enforcement of the law going into effect as soon as June or July.

Speaking on the company’s decision at the time, Bing’s Advertiser Policy Manager Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo explained that the company made the move with the aim of protecting its users from crypto scams, which were quite rampant, at the time.

She pointed out that the crypto market was still largely unregulated, which meant that cryptocurrencies still “present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers.”

However, Bing was not the only media and advertising platform to turn its back on crypto. In January 2018, Facebook made the same decision, stating in a blog post that it would be making some updates to its advertising policy.

According to the social media giant, it would be banning the placement of ads that use “misleading or deceptive promotional practices,” including cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

Facebook’s announcement claimed that many companies on the social media platform were advertising financial products in bad faith. To fix that, they would be making it difficult for these scammers to gain from the platform by simply banning all of such ads.

Google and Twitter followed with similar decisions, with both companies citing user safety as the reasons why they were making blocking crypto-related ads on their platform.

Google’s ban was a sweeping one, which covered all of its ad services and third-party apps. As for Twitter, the ban covered advertisements of ICOs, wallet services, and crypto exchange platforms (except those which have been listed n major stock exchanges)

Will “Facecoin” Force Facebook to Renege?

Of course, it’s pretty understandable why the big social media companies will look to ban crypto assets. However, given Facebook’s rumored interest in the development of a cryptocurrency for its messaging apps, is it possible that it will be reverting the crypto ban on its platforms?

Facebook, the largest social media platform in the world, is currently rumored to be in the process of developing a cryptocurrency- dubbed “Facecoin” by Kik CEO Ted Livingston- that will allow users of its suite of platforms- WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram- to make cash transfers. If the company does pull through with this, naturally you’d expect the social media giant to use its platform’s advertising reach for the adoption of its newest offering (as expected).


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Posted by Jimmy Aki

Based in the UK, Jimmy has been following the development of blockchain for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.


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