Jun 29, 2020 - Technology

Scoop: Microsoft has been pausing spending on Facebook, Instagram

Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela
Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela. Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. in May and recently expanded that to a global pause, according to an internal chat transcript seen by Axios.

Between the lines: Unlike the many advertisers who recently joined a Facebook boycott, Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook's policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now.

What they're saying: "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," Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela said in an internal Yammer post, responding to an employee's question.

  • The transcript did not specifically say what content Microsoft objected to its ads appearing next to, but as examples of "inappropriate content" it cited examples of "hate speech, pornography, terrorist content, etc."
  • Capossela said that the company has been in touch with Facebook and Instagram leadership about what it would take for Microsoft to return as an advertiser: "The timeline on resuming our media spending is dependent on the positive actions they take, but I expect our pause will continue through August."
  • A source confirmed the accuracy of the posted material. Microsoft declined to comment further.

The big picture: Capossela made clear Microsoft isn't taking part in the larger boycott effort.

  • "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 wrote. "We’ve also learned from experience that it doesn’t help our customers, our media partners, or Microsoft to publicize our media spend strategy, but to instead work directly with partners on positive change."
  • Microsoft previously paused spending on Google's YouTube over similar concerns, but has since returned to advertising on the video platform.

By the numbers: In 2019, Microsoft spent more than $115 million on Facebook ads, according to advertising analytics company Pathmatics.

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