A Strategic Attack or An Attempt to Preserve Reputation?


Controversy around a popular instant messenger is gaining momentum.

On 4 January, Mark Zuckerberg made a post saying that he really doesn’t like it when states interfere in the private lives of citizens and Facebook. He sees decentralisation and the encryption of information as the way out of this Orwellian world. So Mark is going to spend all of 2018 looking into this topic. Maybe blockchain will even be integrated into Facebook in the near future.

Zuckerberg thought and thought for three weeks and then finally decided to ban ICO advertising.

Which caused quite a stir among ICO founders. At the moment, they’re unable to sleep at night, asking themselves the ultimate question: why did he do it?

Logical Version

In 2017, the net profit of Facebook was $15.9 billion, 89% of which came from advertising. In the past, brands wanted to get on TV and a column in The New Yorker cost as much as an apartment in Manhattan. Now, on the other hand, their goal is to get into customers’ pockets via FB. It works and is relatively inexpensive.

Each year, promotion on the social network gets 20-30% more expensive and prices can jump by over 300% during the holidays. The reason is that brands are interested in the platform and want to win all the auctions for their target audience. If you want to edge out all the jewellers, florists and devicemakers on 14 February, you’ll have to pay a pretty penny.

Zuckerberg and his company have a good thing going. Revenue is constantly growing, even despite the fact that in recent months the average time spent on the site by users has been constantly falling. It is customary for the rich and famous to wear masks of integrity and morality in public. Facebook is no exception. Which means:

  • No advertising for bookmakers. Look how few responses there are compared to the number of users.

  • The same goes for binary options, forex and online casinos.

  • Girls that post saucy photos to pursue an underhand goal are also forced to do without advertising. Even if they manage to get their claws on Usher.

  • But all is well with Brazzers. The film studio doesn’t scam people for their money, simply playing the role of Netflix for the porn industry.

  • Guns are fine too. It’s no coincidence that “God created man, but Sam Colt made them equal”.

  • Facebook does not like Islamic extremists (no ISIS groups here), but does like Christians. Who are against drugs and for Trump.

  • Drug lovers are all right too.

  • Facebook doesn’t let the Ku-Klux Klan or white power skinheads in. But extreme-left anti-fascists are welcomed with open arms!

Can we agree that it’s not so straightforward? Particularly when it comes to fanatical Christians, antifa and lovers of drug jokes. Nevertheless, Facebook’s overall message is clear: you have no business ripping off our users. Considering the disappointing fact that 95% of launched ICOs are fraud, the whole niche was among those rejected.

Why have news resources that specialise in cryptocurrencies been banned? Because they have no aversion to posting paid-for articles about scam projects. Cryptoinvestors read them, do no analysis of their own and pour money into the gangsters’ pockets. Is that really all right?

By the way, Facebook has been fighting for clean media for a year. Trump’s people made cities that supported Clinton a target for mass destruction with fake articles about her crimes. Hillary lost the vote, while Zuckerberg’s company lost the trust of many Americans and soon began to lead a holy war against clickbait and misinformation. No, it’s not deleted, just cast into the depths of the newsfeed where few users usually do not dare to tread. So don’t be surprised if you get 3 cats, 1 Lynch and 2 Timberlakes in the space of one day, but not a single piece of news about cryptocurrencies.

Good job, Mark! Facebook’s revenue is growing. To keep this going, its reputation must be valued.

Conspiracy Theory

Remember we said that the average time spent on Facebook is falling? The most likely reason for this is the large amount of advertising, the emergence of alternatives and the growing influence of messenger services. At first, people used the social network as a place where they could chat, like each other’s photos and find interesting stuff. Now, messenger apps, Instagram and Pinterest can meet these needs.

Facebook has been worn out like an old couch. Yeah, it reminds you what you were doing 5 years ago, but nostalgia shouldn’t get in the way of progress. Nor a reasonable assessment of its drawbacks. Such as privacy breaches, surveillance from security services, storage of user data on servers even after an account is deleted, non-user-friendly support service, etc.

Then there is Telegram, which is in conflict with Russian and Iranian authorities for keeping users’ personal correspondence confidential. That’s why it is used by drug dealers, Islamic extremists, racists, cryptoinvestors and ever more people around the world. At the end of last year, it was reported that the messenger was planning an ICO, immediately making it one of the most hyped topics online, right up there with the price correction of cryptocurrencies. Eventually, the presale alone raised $850m, giving Telegram the status of the largest ICO ever by a long way, even before a public sale planned to raise another $1.15bn takes place.

Supporters of the conspiracy theory unanimously insist it was no fluke that talk about the Telegram ICO coincided in time with Facebook’s ban on such advertising . Zuckerberg was scared by the rising force and simply closed off his advertising platform. They also do not rule out that a Facebook ICO is being developed as we speak. It would give the social network the chance to take on the new lease of life that it vitally needs.

What ICO Creators Should Do

And now the juicy part – what to do:

Firstly, Facebook has not only banned ICOs, but all cryptocurrency entirely. And judging by the list of stop words, it’s a pretty harsh ban. So many ads will not even get through the automated moderation. In other words, if you make an ad with the word Bitcoin, it is likely to be blocked immediately. There’s no point in appealing – it will just be rejected.

You cannot directly advertise an ICO or encourage people to invest in a coin. But there is a simple and currently effective way to bypass the restrictions and get ads through with words like Bitcoin. Our colleagues suggest that letters in these words should be replaced with characters from another character set or numbers. The automatic filter won’t see them and human moderation will let them through as long as no violations are found in the content (“15% tokens for free” won’t cut it). It worked for us lol.