Feels a little weird, since I’m going to advise you to use Facebook and other “social” sites to do preliminary research for your lawsuit.
But I’d read about this ominous development in the Times a week or so ago:
The Silicon Valley social media company [Facebook] has for the first time formed an old-fashioned political action committee and will use it to distribute cash to candidates in the coming elections. It is just one indication of how social media companies are integrating with the political landscape in a season in which these businesses are growing presences in the campaign conversation.
“FB PAC will give our 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,” a company spokesman said.
Did I read that correctly? Facebook is giving its employees “a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals”?
First, did you notice that Facebook declares its “employees” have one voice? Really? And I kind of thought that the “way to make their voice [sic] heard in the political process” was by voting. Just like the rest of us.
So whose money is Facebook using to employ lobbyists? Their “employees,” or their shareholders? Do they get to say yes to this, or is Facebook saying “yes” on their behalf? I’d sure like to hear from the employees and shareholders about this.
The move comes as technology companies like Facebook are moving quickly to increase their influence in Washington amid increasingly complex legislative debates about patents, monopoly status and concerns about the privacy of users.
And it reflects a new desire among the senior executives at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and other companies to use their technologies to be part of the political process in ways that they have not before.
Google co-sponsored a Republican presidential debate with Fox News last week. On Monday, Facebook held a town hall-style meeting featuring top House Republicans, hours after LinkedIn held a similar meeting with President Obama.
In yesterday’s Magazine Section, Emily Bazelon’s “The Young and the Friended” again calls Facebook out for challenging a Consumer Reports announcement that Facebook’s huge population of under-12 year-old customers defies federal law.
“That will be a fight we take on at some point,” [Mark] Zuckerberg said…And indeed…Facebook has tripled its spending on lobbying, formed a political action committee and hired former Bush and Obama officials to push for its agenda.”
I am very angry. So when you use these powerful internet tools, don’t buy anything, OK? Don’t spend your money there.