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Microsoft pauses Facebook, Instagram advertising spending

As list of companies pulling back spending on Facebook properties continues to lengthen almost by the minute.
Image: Shutterstock

Microsoft has paused global advertising spending on Facebook and Instagram because of concerns about ads appearing next to inappropriate content, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The software giant spent an estimated $116 million in Facebook advertising in 2019, and was the company’s third-largest advertiser last year, according to data from Pathmatics. Microsoft initially halted spending on the sites in the US in May and has now expanded that globally, said the person, who didn’t want to be named discussing internal corporate matters. Axios earlier reported the move, citing comments from Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela in an internal Microsoft message board.

Capossela did not immediately return an email asking for comment.

A list of companies pulling back spending on Facebook properties is lengthening almost by the minute, part of an exodus aimed at pushing the social network and its peers to limit hate speech and posts that divide and misinform. Starbucks and Diageo, Ford Moto and HP are among those who said they are stopping ads on social networks for now.

Microsoft’s concerns relate purely to the placement of ads next to certain content and aren’t a statement about Facebook’s policies, the person said.

The company has spoken with Facebook and Instagram executives on what steps will be needed to resume spending and expects the advertising halt to be in effect through August.

Although it didn’t disclose it publicly at the time, Microsoft was among companies that pulled ads from YouTube in February 2019 amid concerns about child pornography, the person said.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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