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Bing Ads to Block Cryptocurrency Adverts

Microsoft’s search engine Bing, will be changing its financial product and services policy to block cryptocurrency related ads in an attempt to protect users. The changes will come into effect in late June to early July.

Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo the advertiser policy manager of Bing stated: “Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers”.

Bing is the latest large platform to ban cryptocurrency ads

Bing is the latest to step in and make a change in how we view cryptocurrency products and initial coin offerings (ICO). Prior Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have all made similar advances towards the same goal. Rob Leathern, Product Management Director of Facebook, previously expressed: “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICO’s and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”

The ban, which is very broad and may seem like an attack on the community is due to an inability to identify products and ICO’s that are deceptive in nature. “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.

Industry sources believe that the bans may be revoked once US regulatory bodies put policies in place to moderate these products. With no telling how long this could take, the loss of publicity is likely to have a damaging effect on the market and companies involved.

ICO’s or IC-a-scam

With an excess of 900 ICO’s launched in 2017 raising billions of dollars for their promoters, this growing market creates opportunities for everyone as well as the con artists. With little regulation to protect investors, it’s a golden opportunity for those who are looking to defraud the public.

BTCC CEO and founder Bobby Lee stated in an interview with Business Insider: “It’s just too risky. It just doesn’t make sense to invest in those guys. Maybe I’ll change my mind next month, next year, I don’t know.” Lee is among many in supporting more regulation around ICO’s.

Fabric Ventures and TokenData reports detail that as few as 435 ICOs were successful out of a total 913 last year. With small time investors making considerable gains, you can see why the opportunity is enticing, “On average, tokens have returned 12.8x the initial investment in dollar terms versus 7.7x for ETH and 4.9x for BTC during 2017,” the report notes. Mangrove Capital Partners recorded returns of up to 1,320% from ICO’s by October 2017.

For the time being search engines and media platforms have opted to protect the public against the growing rise of crypto-related crime. As new legislation and regulatory powers are introduced we could see a change of heart and a return of cryptocurrency advertisements, promoting legitimate companies.

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Facebook Reportedly Considers Own Crypto, but First Blockchain

According to online media company Cheddar, an anonymous source has reported that social media juggernaut Facebook is considering creating its own cryptocurrency in order to simplify online payments.

This consideration, apparently with little regard to its recent banning of cryptocurrency advertising, is surprising given that insiders have claimed that the company has no plans to hold an initial coin offering (ICO) and will almost certainly not launch any cryptocurrency in the coming year.

What is more likely though, given that large companies are adopting blockchain technology in increasing numbers, is that Facebook takes this direction long before it considers its own cryptocurrency.

Early Bitcoin investor, Messenger’s David Marcus, who has overseen Facebook development since 2014, in a shakeup at Facebook HQ, now heads up group tasked with exploring blockchain technology on behalf of the company. It was reported that an internal post this week announced the company’s blockchain initiative to employees, although it was non-specific.

When questioned, Marcus, who has now joined the board at giant crypto exchange Coinbase, refuted any immediate plans to integrate cryptocurrency into the FB machinery, commenting:

“Payments using crypto right now is just very expensive, super slow, so the various communities running the different blockchains and the different assets need to fix all the issues, and then when we get there someday, maybe we’ll do something.”

Bridget van Kralingen, IBM’s senior vice president of global industries, platforms and blockchain, suggests: “It’s a technology that fits very well with some of the business model challenges that they’re actually facing, and I think they’re very right to take this very seriously.”

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week ordered major administrative changes to the social network, giving more responsibility to his chief product officer and launching the blockchain division.

 

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Facebook Creates Team to Research Blockchain Technology

Facebook, the world’s top social media platform, has announced the formation of a blockchain technology research team. The team will explore the best ways to leverage blockchain technology across Facebook.

David Marcus is leading Facebook’s blockchain research team. Up until now he has been in charge of the Facebook Messenger app. Under his guidance, over 1 billion people signed up for Messenger to use features like video chat, peer to peer payments and games. The fact that he’s stepping down from being in charge of Messenger to explore blockchain technology for Facebook indicates this is a serious venture.

Marcus appears to have a personal interest in cryptocurrency as indicated by him joining the board of directors of Coinbase in December of last year. Since he works for one of the biggest Bitcoin dealers in the US and is now in charge of the Facebook blockchain team, it is reasonable to think that his team will try to add Bitcoin functionality to Facebook. Nothing has been promised and no announcements regarding this logical step have been made, but if it did happen it would be one of the biggest recent advancements in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

The market cap of Facebook stock is over USD 500 billion, putting it in the top 10 most valuable companies in the world. The market cap of Facebook stock exceeds the USD 430 billion market cap of all cryptocurrency in the world combined.

Overall, the announcement that Facebook has created a team led by one of its top executives to explore implementing blockchain technology is positive news for the cryptocurrency world and another sign that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is being adopted globally.

 

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Finance Journo Martin Lewis Targets Facebook for Fake Bitcoin Ads

British financial journalist and TV personality Martin Lewis has announced that he will sue social media giant Facebook over a series of cryptocurrency ads featuring his image and his name.

Lewis, who is taking his case the UK High Court on Monday, claims that at least 50 ads have been released on Facebook endorsing financial products to which he has no connection and has not authorized. Lewis, who has made his name on British TV and in the media for advising consumers how to spend money wisely, ironically is not a cryptocurrency enthusiast, once saying,”Bitcoin is a highly speculative investment. You need to be prepared and think about your attitude to risk before you consider investing.”

The presenter has said that he is “disgusted beyond endurance” with the crypto ads and maintains that Facebook has made no attempt to address the problem:

“It is facilitating scams on a constant basis in a morally repugnant way. If [it] wants to be the champion of moral causes, then he needs to stop its [sic] company doing this.”

According to Facebook, this isn’t the case, arguing,”We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and have explained to Martin Lewis that he should report any adverts that infringe his rights, and they will be removed.”

The statement continued to point out that Facebook was in direct contact with the Lewis team, and was investigating their requests and had recently removed other ads which violated the new company advertising policy.

Facebook has recently introduced a ban on cryptocurrency advertising, but scammers are able to avoid filters that have been put in place. The scammers promote advertising that fools investors into schemes that tap into the burgeoning popularity of cryptocurrency.

The social media giant’s fortunes continue to take a downturn after the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this month. Lewis has said that should he win the case against Facebook, awarded damages will be donated to charities that fight against scams of this nature.

image source: https://pixabay.com/en/mobile-phone-smartphone-keyboard-1917737/ – geralt

 

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Blockchain-Based Alternative to Facebook On The Horizon?

Decentralized social media platform Minds have recently discussed their plans to integrate its online network with the Ethereum blockchain. The move follows in the footsteps of platforms such as Steemit and Viuly that offer similar services based on blockchain.

Minds Crypto Social Network

The launch of Minds Crypto Social Network offers blockchain technology to an already-established 1 million registered users on the Minds flagship platform. The integration of blockchain brings the addition of a native token rewards scheme, similar to that of Steemit. The tokens monetize social media content posted through a peer-driven reward system, incentivizing participation. Minds reports that it will temporarily use the Ethereum testnet for its token model until full functionality is confirmed.

Social media platforms built on blockchain offer an efficient foundation for user security and privacy. The Minds network offers encrypted messaging, anonymous accounts and a non-tracking ad model.

When speaking on the biggest players in social media, Minds founder Bill Ottman stated that ”they’re spying on people”.  This influenced his decision to provide a social media platform to fill what he believed was a gap in the market.

After the recent controversy surrounding Facebook’s privacy tools that allowed Cambridge Analytica to access vast amounts of users data, there has been a public demand for more secure forms of social media. Developers such as Ottman hope that their blockchain-based innovations will pioneer the way for a change in the structure of social media.

Similar players

Viuly is a blockchain-enforced media platform for sharing videos. The decentralized network allows users to monetize their videos through various concepts involving both advertisers and a peer-driven reward system. The platform’s ecosystem runs on its VIU token.

Steemit is developed as a concept closer to Facebook. Users create and post content, while the platform is driven by peers “tipping” each other for content that they enjoy. Essentially this means donating a small amount of the platform’s native token, STEEM. Steemit gains its security from a delegated proof-of-stake algorithm that relies on those who hold the currency to verify transactions.

Challenges ahead

Blockchain technology is still relatively new, certainly meaning there are still aspects of it yet to discover, in the same way as experienced recently with traditional social media.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are able to moderate all of the content posted for violations against content policies, such as users uploading porn or violent images. This is enabled through a combination of machine learning algorithms and vast amounts of individual monitors that provide human judgment.

Because all content from these platforms is stored in the cloud, the platforms hold exclusive rights over exactly what can be posted on their respective platforms.

Blockchain-backed social media platforms mean they are decentralized, a popular aspect because of the privacy it can provide, but equally a challenge to make sure the network remains devoid of abusive content.

However, as previously highlighted, there is certainly more that developers have to learn about blockchain. The evolution of the technology may well provide an answer to these challenges.

 

 

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