Rumours began swirling yesterday that the real reason behind Facebook’s move to ban all cryptocurrency-related advertising is that the social media platform plans to launch its own. As recently as four weeks ago, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg had said that he was studying the potential of cryptocurrencies with regards how to “best use them in our services”. However, yesterday, Facebook announced a purge of all advertisements connected to cryptocurrencies and ICOs on the social media platform.
Explaining the new policy, a Facebook statement read that the reasoning behind the ban was that these ads have been “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”.
There is certainly an argument that cryptocurrency mania is being taken advantage of by fraudsters to lure would-be investors into highly questionable or outright fictitious investments. However, given Zuckerberg’s public endorsements of cryptocurrencies as having positive potential, conspiracy theorists believe the ban is less motivated by protecting users and more about clearing the decks in preparation for Facebook’s own play in the industry.
As recently as the first week of January, Zuckerberg’s New Year statement read:
“With the rise of a small number of big tech companies – and governments using technology to watch their citizens – many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it. There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands”.
It is thought the most likely application of the latest technology in the world of Blockchain, should Facebook be planning one, is in either its WhatsApp messenger service or Facebook payments systems. Other social media platforms, such as WhatsApp rival Telegram, have already announced plans to integrate Blockchain technology.
Telegram, which recently held its own ICO, believes that using the latest Blockchain technology will give it an edge over WhatsApp by providing users with greater anonymity and privacy when making payments through its app.
Perhaps Facebook is taking this threat seriously enough to be hastening its own foray into Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.