PREMIUM FREE TRIAL

Facebook’s cryptocurrency advertising ban: Spammers find ways around it.

JOHANNESBURG — Just when you thought that Facebook had clamped down on those strange Bitcoin and cryptocurrency ads, the people behind the ads have found ways to still sneak them in. The advertisers have used workarounds such as replacing letters with numbers. And while Facebook may have smart algorithms, this shows that humans are still necessary to keep an eye on what gets onto the world’s biggest social media network. – Gareth van Zyl

By Sarah Frier

(Bloomberg) – Cryptocurrency ads have found their way onto Facebook despite a ban, using a workaround popular with email spammers: changing spelling.

In one recent ad, the “o” in “BITCOIN” was replaced with a zero, and the capital I’s were replaced with lowercase L’s. The tactic was noticed by French entrepreneur Matthieu Suiche on Twitter, who said he was surprised by the ban’s lack of sophistication.

Facebook Inc. banned ads tied to cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and binary options last month, saying they were associated with misleading and deceptive practices. The company has been working to clean up its advertising system, after several reports by ProPublica showed that racist and discriminatory ads could make their way through.

Even as Facebook works to build up its artificial intelligence capabilities, it’s finding that humans are more reliable for detecting harmful behavior on its site. The social networking company has been hiring thousands of new employees around the world to address problems including fake news and election manipulation. Now Bitcoin is on their radar, too.

For a deeper understanding of the world of money and greater financial control, upgrade to BizNews Premium.