Fearful of appearing alongside inappropriate content, Microsoft has decided to temporarily suspend all advertising on Facebook and Instagram.
As was first reported by Axios on Monday, Microsoft actually put a hold on advertising in the U.S. on Facebook and Instagram back in May.
In a transcript of an internal chat obtained by Axios, Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela said the suspension was unrelated to the current #StopHateForProfit campaign.
Ironically, Facebook on Monday outlined additional measures designed to protect brands on its platform.
With the help of the Media Rating Council (MRC), Facebook committed to evaluating its partner and content monetization policies, as well as the brand safety controls it makes available to advertisers.
“The point of the audit is to evaluate the effectiveness of Facebook’s methods for ensuring that advertisers are protected across Facebook’s platforms against having their ads placed in proximity to content they deem inappropriate. And, that these methods comply with our industry minimum standards for brandsafety practices,” George Ivie, CEO-executive director of the The MRC, said on Monday.
Among the provisions of the MRC’s standard are enforcement requirements to be followed when content is determined to violate the “floor” for brand safety. Below this floor, which is defined by the 4As, such content should not be monetized for advertising at all.
Ivie said the MRC and Facebook had been in discussions for more than a year about auditing its brand-safety protocols.
The timeline for the audit is undetermined, in part because the MRC and Facebook have yet to execute a formal agreement for the audit, Ivie said.
“Our best estimate is approximately six months, maybe slightly longer,” he said.
Last year, Microsoft spent more than $115 million on Facebook advertising, according to analytics firm Pathmatics. The partnership between Microsoft and Facebook goes beyond advertising.
Last week, for example, Microsoft announced plans to shut down Mixer and direct users of the livestreaming service to Facebook Gaming. The shift is a boon for Facebook, which has been seeking to increase its share of the livestreaming space for a number of years.