Is Facebook’s crypto ad ban only for competitors?

Online identity management service Bloom has claimed that Facebook banned its ads on the service despite not selling financial products, indicating that it could be because its service conflicts with the social media platform’s own.

According to a report from Yahoo! Finance, advertisements for Bloom were removed under the rule of ‘deceptive financial services products’, which was re-established by Facebook back in June when its blanket ban on cryptocurrency ads was lifted.

However, Bloom does not deal in cryptocurrencies or other financial products, and its use of blockchain technology was cited by Facebook as the reason for its ban.

“They just banned it,” said Bloom co-founder Jesse Leimgruber.  “This was a huge killer for us.”

In response a spokesperson for Facebook told CNBC that “we have not shut down their ad account but merely disapproved their ads that promote the cryptocurrency related product. Our policies continue to restrict cryptocurrency-related advertising, as well as prohibit initial coin offerings (ICOs) and binary options as part of our ongoing effort to improve the integrity and security of our ads. But, as noted, we will continue to study, receive feedback, and revise over time.”

What seems to have occurred is a fundamental misunderstanding of blockchain from the folks at Facebook, with a ban on ICO and crypto-related ads meaning that businesses using the new technology are targeted.

Bloom has reportedly spent $300,000 on Facebook ads, which were initially accepted by the social media giant.

“There’s no rule in their ad guidelines that says you can’t compete with them,” Leimgruber added. “Since BMW and other financial institutions are using Bloom as a replacement for Facebook Connect, it’s a threat to them.

“They probably didn’t like that the ads were really pointed and that we ramped up spend after the Facebook hack. They were directed at ‘take back the data’ in the days after the Facebook hack. I’m sure they were very sensitive to this. I think they just needed a way to justify banning us.”