Beware children. April Fools’ Day is nearly upon us. It’s arguably the worst day of the year, but one we stubbornly cling to because of tradition. Tech companies certainly aren’t immune from the draw of building up and instantly crushing the dreams of millions of users, and pranks have become pretty common place with many top companies. These range from the fun to the terrible, with roughly 98 percent landing firmly in the former.
This year, Microsoft is taking a bold stand against pranks. Chris Capossela sent a memo asking teams “not do any public-facing April Fools’ Day stunts.” In the letter obtained by the Verge, the marketing head notes that “these stunts have limited positive impact and can actually result in unwanted news cycles.”
As good-natured as the pranks may be, they can have problematic repercussions in the era of social media, where readers and reporters alike are having enough trouble filtering out the bullshit, even when it doesn’t come from trusted, official sources like Microsoft PR.
Maybe Chris and I are being sticks in the mud, but honestly, what’s the return on investment for the rare good April Fool’s Day prank? “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,” says Capossela.
The cynic in me (embittered by years of bad pranks) thinks this could all be the lead up to some master prank. In which case, my God have mercy on our souls.