Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg
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Cryptocurrency Ads Find Ways Around Facebook’s Ban

Bitcoin ads rely on email spam technique

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.

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