- Facebook has faced increasing scrutiny from politicians over the years as it expands beyond social networking.
- In an effort to improve its image with politicians, Facebook has been quietly helping to set up a political advocacy group named American Edge.
- The group is registered as a non-profit, which enables it to raise money and publish advertisements without having to disclose its donors.
- Facebook acknowledged its participation in a statement to the Washington Post: “We’re working with a diverse group of stakeholders to help build support for our industry, and while we’re leading an effort to start this coalition, it’s one of many we are contributing to and supporting.”
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Facebook is a founding member and a critical player in a new political advocacy group that intends to drum up support in Washington for the tech industry.
The group is named American Edge, the Washington Post revealed in a new report this week, and Facebook has been a “critical, primary driver” in its creation.
American Edge is registered as a non-profit, which enables it to raise money and spend on advertising without having to disclose all of its donors. Facebook isn’t the only group involved, but the social media giant has been a main driving force in its creation.
Though Facebook hasn’t officially announced the group, or its participation in the group’s formation, a spokesperson acknowledged as much in a statement.
“We’re working with a diverse group of stakeholders to help build support for our industry,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told the Washington Post, “And while we’re leading an effort to start this coalition, it’s one of many we are contributing to and supporting.”
Facebook has faced scrutiny in Washington over a variety of different issues, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had to repeatedly answer in person to lawmakers. The social media giant was even slapped with a $US5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The intention of American Edge is to help improve Facebook’s image among politicians, and to more generally act as an advocate for the tech industry.
The group reframes the tech industry as a stand in for “American innovators,” according to former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell John Ashbrook, who is consulting on the project. Its goal is to advocate for “the bipartisan proposition that American innovators are an essential part of US economic health, national security and individual freedoms.”
It’s unclear what other tech giants, if any, are involved in the group.