Google will ban advertisements for certain financial products, including cryptocurrencies, the Internet giant announced Wednesday. The move comes amid increased scrutiny of the fast-growing market for digital currencies like bitcoin.
In a blog post on the company's website, Google's Director of Sustainable Ads Scott Spencer cited the "unregulated" and "speculative" nature of many of the financial products being advertised. Spencer mentioned cryptocurrency advertisements as an example of "new threats" to the Google user experience, along with ads for addiction treatment centers and online gambling services.
Google's new policy will take effect in June. It mirrors a similar announcement from Facebook and reflects a broader push by the advertising giants to rebuild user trust in their platforms. Last year, Google struggled to address advertisers' concerns that ads were being run alongside objectionable content.
"Google's decision to ban cryptocurrency ads is an implicit acknowledgement that they cannot identify legitimate projects in this space at scale," says Paul Makowski, chief technology officer of malware-detection startup PolySwarm. Makowski says PolySwarm's users have been "inundated" with fraudulent advertisements.
The change comes amid a growing backlash against cryptocurrency products, particularly initial coin offerings. ICOs are used to raise money by companies offering investors a "first bite" at an upcoming cryptocurrency.