Sonos Pulls Facebook Ads Following the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

The social platform touts the speaker company as a success story

Speaker manufacturer Sonos said in a blog post today that it was pulling its ads from Facebook and other tech platforms next week because the company is “concerned by the recent revelations about Facebook and the exploitation of its platform.”

Starting Monday, the company is dropping ads from Facebook, Instagram, Google and Twitter, and will instead support digital rights conference RightsCon with a “substantive” donation, but Sonos declined to give a dollar amount.

“The Cambridge Analytica scandal, like many recent headlines coming out of Silicon Valley, raises questions about whether Big Tech is doing enough to balance its own interests with one of its biggest responsibilities: Safeguarding your privacy,” the company wrote.

Sonos was not available for comment at publication time.

“Despite the flaws of these massive digital networks, we fundamentally believe in the power of technology to bring us together and to create deeper, shared experiences,” the company wrote in the post. “We have found Facebook, Instagram, and other online platforms to be incredibly effective ways to reach our customers and to share our mission as a company.”

A Facebook spokesperson said in an email: “We agree with Sonos that there is nothing more important than safeguarding people’s privacy. The steps we’ve outlined this week to better protect people’s data are the first of many, and we have confidence that we’ll respond to these challenges and become a better partner and company as a result.”

The move comes as the social platform currently touts Sonos as a success story on its Facebook Business page. The case study reads, in part, “Sonos’ inventive Facebook campaign helped establish it as a leader in home audio. The 2-phase campaign delivered outstanding results.”

Donna Queza, the global paid social media lead at Sonos, is quoted on the Facebook Business page, saying “We’ve been impressed with Facebook and Instagram as a full-funnel advertising platform for our brand. With the Playbase launch, we built buzz around our newest product and then followed up with a promotion to drive sales among engaged audiences. It was a perfect one-two punch.”

Sonos is one of a handful of companies to publicly say it is pulling ads from Facebook. On Wednesday, Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, said it is “pressing pause” on its Facebook advertising after the Cambridge Analytica news came to light. Writing in a blog post, it said, “This news caused us to take a closer look at Facebook’s current default privacy settings given that we support the platform with our advertising dollars. While we believe there is still more to learn, we found that its current default settings leave access open to a lot of data—particularly with respect to settings for third-party apps.”

Germany’s second-largest bank, Commerzbank, said it too is suspending its ad spend on Facebook. “We are pausing our campaign on Facebook. Brand safety and data security are very important to us,” Uwe Hellmann, the bank’s head of brand strategy, told the Handelsblatt Business Daily, as reported by Reuters.

These brands are currently in the minority. Adweek reported earlier this week that the ad industry collectively shrugged, as agencies said that they weren’t shifting ad budgets in the wake of the news. At least not yet.

“I wouldn’t say that we’re going to tell our clients to not advertise on Facebook, unless there’s more egregious information that sheds light,” said Jen Brady, vp of media at Periscope. “It’s not like it’s a sexual scandal. It is a very unfortunate situation.”

UPDATE: On Monday, auto parts company Pep Boys joined the parade, pulling its ads from Facebook, according to Reuters. In a statement, the company’s CMO, Danielle Porto Mohn said: “We are concerned about the issues surrounding Facebook and have decided to suspend all media on the platform until the facts are out and corrective actions have been taken.”

Source: Josh Sternberg - Tech Editor

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