The news about Google will stop allowing cryptocurrency companies to buy advertising demonstrates how we still haven’t cracked content censorship on the Internet.
Has Google become a content provider that can ban certain types of advertising? Until now, Google was purely a search engine selling pixels on user’s search results. They weren’t responsible for any of the signposted or copyrighted content.
(The same applies to Facebook and pretty much any other advertising funded content platform).
Note that my issue isn’t with the cryptocurrency companies. My issue is that Google and Facebook have shattered the professional journalism industry, only to then lay down their own moral advertising code of conduct when they are among the last remaining mass publishers.
The reason Google has made this announcement, which comes into force in June, is apparently to reduce the risk exposure to the public who might want to invest in Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. Or, digital advertising morality.
Why are cryptocurrency companies banned, but bookmakers are allowed? Why has it become unacceptable for someone to open a cryptocurrency account, but that person can create an account with a bookmaker? (With a cryptocurrency, at least you have a chance of getting some money back, and not losing an entire stake on a sports bet).
Why are payday loan companies allowed to advertise but not crypto exchanges?
If there is a moral advertising argument here (which I’m assuming there is), should there be a consumer warning when someone does a Google search for “cryptocurrency”?
Following on from this approach, if someone wants to speculate on a crypto-currency, and they start their journey with a Google search, what should be shown?
What happens next? Will high interest rate credit card companies be banned from advertising? High sugar drinks companies? Craft beer companies?
We either need censorship on the Internet, and we do it properly, or we don’t have censorship at all. In the grand scheme of things, banning cryptocurrency adverts seems far behind other search terms.
Again, I don’t have anything against Google, Facebook, bookmakers, payday loan companies, high sugar drinks, craft beer companies or any other examples mentioned here. I even hold shares in some of these industries.