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Twitter wages fight against cryptocurrency fakes

In January, Facebook became the first of the social media platforms to ban ICO and cryptocurrency related ads on its website and now it looks like Twitter is slowly about to head in a similar direction.

It was announced on Friday that Twitter will be banning users that encourage the use and purchase of cryptocurrencies tied to deceptive claims and money-making schemes. This of course is still a long way from banning all ads like Facebook, however the move joins a number of countries that are restricting Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in an attempt to dispel money laundering.

It appears that the new Twitter restrictions are primarily focussed on preventing fake accounts from receiving and laundering money through genuine users. It was reported by Reuters that the site recently suspended a fake account posing as Elon Musk which was claiming to give away cryptocurrency to his followers. On top of this a number of normal users have also been suspended recently for asking for cryptocurrency.

The implementation of the ban however seems loose at best. Though the fake Elon Musk and a couple of unlucky accounts were blocked, it takes just a quick search of Twitter to actually find an abundance of ‘crypto sales’ and other soliciting statuses. At the same time alongside many genuine users reporting that their accounts have been suspended, Kraken, a real currency exchange site with 271,000 followers also saw it’s twitter page shut down and then a number of followers deleted.

Another dimension to this debate would also suggest that the repercussions of the cryptocurrency scams on the platform ultimately diminish the worth and reputability of the currencies themselves. As the ongoing debate continues into the future of crypto, which see polar arguments predict that Bitcoin will either disintegrate into oblivion or take over the world, the move by Twitter at least takes a step to clean up the dirty underbelly surrounding the market.

It also remains to be seen how much the efforts of social media can even influence the cryptocurrency markets. Take a look at China for instance, who announced a clamp down on Bitcoin in late 2017. By February of this year cryptocurrency exchanges and websites trading in the currencies faced the wrath of China’s firewall, which alongside Facebook and Twitter are but a little deterrent for China’s avid VPN society. Despite China’s attempted clampdown on the currencies, requesting banks to monitor accounts of cryptocurrency traders, it was reported that the country has actually seen an increase in trade and many more users buying their Bitcoins in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Though Twitter can work to protect its users, the real reality of the situation is that little can really be done to prevent twitterers from spending money in whatever ways they wish. Those who think that sending money to a unknown account via a Twitter advert might really not be facing very prosperous futures in investment anyway.

Would it be so bad an idea to perhaps focus on educating the online cohort instead? If not to understand how this market works, at least to tell the difference between a verified and fake twitter account.

About the author

Tamara Davison

The Medellin-based Mancunian started her journalism career in a London startup and has since travelled around the globe covering arts and culture news, as well as climbing the Himalayas and being lost in remote places. She claims her knowledge of Bitcoin is a healthy obsession that she picked whilst studying the fascinating repercussions new technology has around the world.

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