Microsoft has reportedly decided to pause all advertising on Facebook and Instagram (via Axios). Over the last week, several major companies have boycotted Facebook, sending the social network’s market value plummeting by $60 billion.
Brands like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Ford Motor Company have all stopped their ads on the platform. However, Microsoft’s decision arguably is the most interesting. Certainly, Redmond has become the first big tech company to join the boycott.
Still, the company seems to be distancing itself from the ongoing Facebook ad boycott and says it has wider reasons for abandoning the platform. In an internal Yammer post, Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela says the company is “concerned about where its ads are shown”.
Facebook has come under fire in recent weeks following the murder of George Floyd and the following race-related protests. The company’s poor handling of controversial posts from President Trump has caused many major advertisers to back away.
For Microsoft, Capossela suggests the company has been planning to test pulling its ads for some time. And testing it seems to be as the at the moment the ads have only been pulled through August.
“Based on concerns we had back in May we suspended all media spending on Facebook/Instagram in the US and we’ve subsequently suspended all spending on Facebook/Instagram worldwide,” Capossela said.
“The timeline on resuming our media spending is dependent on the positive actions they take, but I expect our pause will continue through August.”
It’s interesting, because Microsoft is either not being fully open about wanting to stand with the ongoing Facebook boycott or the company has simply been opportunistic and used an ongoing movement as a platform for its own plans.
Either way, the most puts more pressure on Facebook. Interestingly, it also risks Microsoft going into open war with a fellow major tech company. It is worth noting Microsoft has previously took a similar stance against YouTube. Once Redmond’s perceived issues with YouTube were resolved, the company’s ads returned.
“Our experience tells us that the most impactful means to effect genuine, long-term change is through direct dialogue and meaningful action with our media partners, including the suspension of real marketing dollars,” Capossela says.