News & Politics

Google Joins Facebook, Bans Cryptocurrency Advertising

(Sipa via AP Images)

Ubiquitous tech company Google, following in Facebook’s footsteps, has banned advertising for cryptocurrencies all across its vast cyber empire.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google said the new policy will become effective in June across ads bought on its search and display-advertising network, as well as its YouTube unit. The policy also will restrict ads for nontraditional methods of wagering on the future movements of stock prices and foreign-exchange, such as binary options and financial spread-betting, Google said.

Facebook updated its ad policy to ban ads for similar financial products on Jan. 30.

Google explains it made the move because “the rise in popularity and price of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies has led to scammers using online ads to promote fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes via online ads.”

Bitcoin tanked 9 percent following the Google’s decision. How do we know this isn’t just another instance of Google’s social engineering? YouTube, part of the Google leviathan, regularly punishes unoffensive video content that leans center-right. The company also has banned payday lenders from advertising because “advocates” told them the “lending practice exploits the poor and vulnerable.” Wrote the WaPo back in 2016 when Google made this decision, “The move also shows the willingness of big tech companies to weigh in on critical policy issues — and exert their power as the gateways for the internet. Facebook also does not display ads for payday loans.” Indeed.

Back to the cryptocurrency issue, “We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies,” Google executive  Scott Spencer told CNBC in an interview published last night, “but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”

With the big tech companies resembling public utilities more and more, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at their practices?