Good work from Common Sense Media, whose complaint led to Microsoft’s decision to pull an promotional video that seemed to endorse “sexting.” An ad for Microsoft’s new KIN smartphones showed a guy reaching the phone up inside his t-shirt to snap a photo to send via text to his friends. My friend Jim Steyer of CSM wrote:
It is absolutely baffling that Microsoft chose to promote the features of its new Kin phones through a video that seems to encourage sexting. Every week there is another story about teens and sexting scandals in schools. This week alone, teens in Montgomery County, Md., are under investigation for distributing nude photos via text message, and a sheriff in San Bernardino County, Calif., said that sexting is the “No. 1 problem” for middle school principals in his community.
It is both irresponsible and outrageous that an industry leader like Microsoft would take a form of digital abuse and position it as “cool and hip” in order to sell a new product that is directly targeted to a teen audience. Microsoft should pull this video and apologize for encouraging inappropriate digital media use.
Microsoft responded to the complaints from CSM and others:
Microsoft takes the issue of sexting very seriously and it was certainly never our intent to promote it in any way. The KIN marketing campaign is meant to capture the energy and playfulness of the generation of social communicators. We have received feedback that one of the KIN lifestyle videos has a scene that did not come across in the spirit it was intended. Upon further review we have acknowledged that and since removed the clip.