Facebook Forms Political Action Committee

Tuesday, 27 Sep 2011 02:42 PM


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Facebook has already won the hearts of hundreds of millions of users, but now it is going after a select clique — the politicians.

Facebook formed its first political action committee Tuesday, marking the latest step by it and other social media companies to expand their influence in the nation's capital.

In a statement from a Facebook spokesperson, the company said the political action committee would give its employees "a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected."

Facebook just unveiled its latest redesign last week, prompting all new questions about user privacy and the social networking site's growing dominance.

Many of the changes, in particular the introduction of content apps, look to keep users on Facebook rather than have them navigate their way to other pages.

The question of privacy has long haunted Facebook, though that has never led to any kind of mass defection from the site.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company is just one of several social media-driven technology companies that either face increasing scrutiny, are attempting to expand their political reach or, in most cases, both.

Google's former CEO Eric Schmidt testified before Congress about the possibility that the search giant is a monopoly and anti-competitive last week. It also sponsored a GOP candidates' debate on Fox News.

The company already formed a political action committee back in 2006 and has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to campaigns.

Twitter is newer to the D.C. scene, but it has been expanding its bureau there and announced last week it would begin featuring political ads on its site.

Both Facebook and Twitter have been used as platforms for "town halls," and even a company like LinkedIn has begun to show some political interest.

As the Atlantic's Nancy Scola points out, this is another sign of the growing size and influence of these companies, which have become some of the country's most powerful media companies.

But will people object to their involvement in politics?

That may depend on which candidates they support.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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