The Internet turns into a minefield on April Fools' Day, with websites around the world taking the opportunity to turn into The Onion and post humorous false news stories, which people might actually believe before checking the calendar and realizing that they are now the fool.
There are some companies and organizations that want to take a stand against April Fools' Day and Microsoft is joining their ranks. The tech giant will not be taking part in any comedic fake news stories on Monday, due to the potential they have to create negative press.
An internal memo was circulated around Microsoft that made its way into the hands of The Verge, who are reporting that Microsoft's Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela is warning the staff to not take part in any April Fool's Day pranks involving the company. The memo in full can be seen below.
It’s that time of year when tech companies try to show their creativity with April Fools’ Day stunts. Sometimes the outcomes are amusing and sometimes they’re not. Either way, data tells us these stunts have limited positive impact and can actually result in unwanted news cycles.
Considering the headwinds the tech industry is facing today, I’m asking all teams at Microsoft to not do any public-facing April Fools’ Day stunts. I appreciate that people may have devoted time and resources to these activities, but I believe we have more to lose than gain by attempting to be funny on this one day.
Please forward to your teams and internal partners to ensure people are aware of the ask to stand down on external April Fools’ Day activities."
The reason why Capossela is opposed to fake announcements is that they do more harm than good, as they can lead to negative stories that Microsoft has to spend time clearing up, as not everyone appreciates the humor that is trying to come across and some outlets might accidentally post the details of the prank as fact, leading to confusion in the media.
It's possible that Microsoft purposely leaked this memo in order to put people off their guard when an actual April Fools' Day prank occurs. The truth will come out soon, as April Fool's Day is only a few days away.