Now in the News: Vox Media “Formalizes” Ban On Fossil-Fuel Ads

January 6, 2023

Vox Media “Formalizes” Ban On Fossil-Fuel Ads

The company also announced a carbon-neutral ad offering.

Fossil who? To ring in the new year on a sustainable note, Vox Media said today that it’ll no longer run ads from fossilfuel companies. It’s a policy the publisher has had in place since early 2021, explained AJ Frucci, Vox Media’s SVP of media revenue, but the company is now “kind of formalizing” it. The update to the company’s advertising policy states that Vox Media no longer accepts ad dollars from fossil-fuel companies, or any companies that mine nonrenewable resources, Vox Media spokesperson Peyton McCarthy said. The policy will also extend to lobbyist groups “whose purpose is to support fossil-fuel companies.” The Guardian introduced a similar ban in 2020. The announcement is part of a larger initiative that Vox Media, which owns publications including New York Magazine, SB Nation, and its namesake site Vox, will make in an attempt to help address the climate crisis. Today, Vox Media also announced it would pay the cost of offsetting the carbon emissions generated by the publisher’s new “carbon-neutral” advertising inventory for its Concert advertising network, created in a partnership with Scope3, a company designed to help the ad-tech industry scale back its carbon emissions. Advertisers buying carbon-neutral inventory will be paying only for audience impressions, with Vox paying the cost of offsetting the emissions used to reach them. Frucci declined to share the pricing of the units . “Our business success depends on this idea…that the buy side begins prioritizing greener advertising in their campaigns and their buying decisions. And that’s the bet that we’re making,” Frucci told Marketing Brew.

Zoom out: Though Frucci declined to say how much ad revenue fossil-fuel advertisers previously contributed to Vox Media’s bottom line, it’s a heated topic in energy and climate media.

• In December, Semafor’s climate editor left the publication, writing that his short time there was “marred, sadly, by an overdependence on Chevron sponsorship.”

• Both Axios and Politico have garnered attention for running ads from fossil-fuel companies alongside coverage of the climate crisis and energy.

• Last year, Bloomberg Media’s global CMO told us that its climate vertical, Bloomberg Green, does not work with oil and gas companies.

Related, unrelated: In recent years, both Google and Pinterest have saidthey’re making moves to curb ads that promote false information about the climate crisis

Musk’s Twitter To Lift Ban On Political Ads ‘In Coming Weeks

Twitter plans to lift its restrictions on political ads, saying it would immediately allow issue-based paid content on the platform while political advertisements will return “in the coming weeks.”

The announcement comes as advertisers have fled the platform in droves after Elon Musk’s takeover last October, which was followed by a spike in hate speech and the reinstatement of several previously-banned right-wing accounts. The move also puts Twitter in alignment with several of the other major social media companies, such as Meta’s Facebook and Google’s YouTube, which both allow paid political content. One notable exception is ByteDance’s TikTok, which still has a ban on political advertising.

Lifting bans on advertisements from politicians and issue-based groups — which have been in place since 2019 — could potentially lead to more revenue for Twitter. Reversal of course: Twitter Safety’s account announced the changes in a tweet Tuesday evening, saying, “We believe that cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation around important topics. Today, we’re relaxing our ads policy for cause-based ads in the US.” The company also announced plans to expand political advertising, but didn’t set a specific time frame beyond “weeks.”

It’s the latest in a series of Musk moves that have reversed policies that were put in place under former CEO and cofounder Jack Dorsey. Dorsey banned all political ads in November 2019, saying in an October 2019 Twitter thread that paying for political reach “has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.

Why Bloomberg Would Make An Acquisition

Dylan Byers of Puck writes about why Michael Bloomberg would acquire another media company such as The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal — even though the company said no talks have happened.

Byers writes, “Unless Bezos wakes up one morning and decides to overhaul the Post, Mike Bloomberg may be the sole media entrepreneur with the ambition—and Bloomberg News the sole U.S.-based outlet with the infrastructure and financial capital—to give the Times a run for its money. And an acquisition of the Journal or the Post could conceivably get him the subscriber base and cachet to start that effort in earnest. A Journal acquisition would make Bloomberg the indisputable leader in business and financial news, while a Post acquisition would confer unparalleled political influence, catapult the combined asset into a global news behemoth overnight, and immediately make it competitive with the Times, if not superior. And sure, none of it may happen. But an $80-billion man can dream, and dream aloud.

“The only difference between now and all those other previous reports is that nowadays—with the Post newsroom on edge and The Journal reeling from the defenestration of top editor Matt Murray in favor of Emma Tucker, a Murdoch favorite—it may not just be Bloomberg’s dream. Hundreds of journalists are probably going to sleep fantasizing about his potential ownership, too.”