Facebook Warns Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Will Hit Its Ads Business

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  • Facebook banned ads in Russia and from Russian companies after the country blocked its service.
  • Facebook’s business is mostly based on advertising, and revenue from the region is notable. 
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is also impacting advertising in Europe, Facebook’s CFO said.

Facebook’s chief financial officer warned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will hurt the company’s business this year.

David Wehner said during Morgan Stanley’s Tech, Media and Telecom conference that Facebook’s decision last week to stop ads in Russia or halt ad placements from Russian companies “will have an impact in 2022.” Revenue from the region is about 1.5% of Facebook’s overall ad business, he noted, which last year totaled $114.9 billion. That puts the revenue hit from actions in Russia at roughly $1.7 billion. 

The invasion is impacting advertising in Europe, too, Wehner said. 

“We are seeing some softness in Europe on the advertising side because of the conflict,” he said. “It’s hard to say if it’s temporary or will persist. But we hope it’s short term and the situation gets resolved peacefully.”

When Facebook said it was blocking all ads in and coming out of Russia, the move was characterized as a “pause” due to “difficulties in operating in Russia at this time.” Wehner said the company is still working to have the platform operational in the region, at some point.

Russia blocked its citizens from accessing Facebook last week as the country began to isolate people from outside sources of information, similar to moves made over the past decade or so by the Chinese government. Russian agencies have also lashed out at TikTok and Google and possibly blocked Twitter, based on local reports.

Access to all four platforms had been throttled in previous weeks, with Russian officials taking issue with Western sources of information about the invasion. Facebook, Twitter and Google had also been taking actions like labeling content and demoting or blocking access to state-operated media since shortly after the invasion began, while TikTok has just started to do so. The Russian government in turn accused the platforms of “censorship” and of propagating “misinformation.”

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