Google's ban on cryptocurrency ads comes on the heels of a similar action taken by Facebook earlier this year. Google confirmed its plans in its latest "bad ads" report, where it revealed that over the course of 2017, it took down 3.2 billion advertisements that violated its policies.
"We've seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it's an area that we want to approach with extreme caution", said Scott Spencer, Google's director of sustainable ads, in an interview with CNBC. Google's ban will cover Google's Ad Words advertising products and YouTube, blocking adverts on cryptocurrencies including so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs). A Google spokeswoman said the company's policies will try to anticipate workarounds like this.
Alphabet Inc's Google announced the decision on Wednesday night in an update to its policy, which says it will begin to block ads for "cryptocurrencies and related content".
The company also said it reviewed more than 11,000 sites for suspected violations of its policies on misrepresenting content; more than half were blocked, and 90 publishers had their accounts closed.
Google also said it will toughen rules for ads relating to other financial products. In 2017, the company removed 320,000 "bad publishers" from its ad network, up from 100,000 in 2016. Scammers are using "crypto-jacking" or putting lines of code in websites or ads to surreptitiously harness the computing power of the web surfers who look at them. Mark Zuckerberg's social network banned cryptocurrency ads in January, saying such type of content is "frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices".
Anyone looking to get their money's worth with their cryptocurrency advertising on Google better get their ads up now.
She said that Google pulled out the bad ads with the aid of policies, technology and people.
"That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not now operating in good faith", said Rob Leathern, Product Management Director at Facebook.
Aside from scams, governments are also beginning to step in with plans to regulate cryptocurrency over fears that it is being used to fund criminal activity.