After pausing political donations for several months, Facebook’s political action committee will resume campaign contributions to members of Congress. However, they will not allow donations to anyone who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election, the company told employees.
Buzzfeed News was the first to report on an internal announcement from Brian Rice, a public policy director at Facebook. He said the decision was made after the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and a review of Facebook’s contribution policies.
“As a result of our review, the FBPAC Board has decided to resume contributions, but not to any members of Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election following the events at the Capitol on January 6,” Rice said in an internal memo. “While a contribution to a candidate for office does not mean that we agree with every policy or position that a candidate may espouse, we believe this decision is appropriate given the unprecedented events in January.”
Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all paused political campaign contributions in January after the Capitol protest. At the time, Facebook said it would conduct an internal review of its donation policies before resuming political spending.
As a result of Facebook’s new policy, the company will not donate to eight senators and 139 members of the House of Representatives. All 147 lawmakers who voted against certifying the Electoral College results are Republicans, including prominent Facebook critics Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.).
The contribution ban comes as a growing number of Republican lawmakers at both the state and federal level attempt to break up Big Tech companies for excessive censorship.
After Facebook’s oversight board upheld the company’s decision to deplatform former President Donald Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) vowed to “rein in big tech power over our speech.” Sen. Hawley, a longtime critic of tech companies, called Facebook a “monopoly” and advocated for Republicans to take antitrust action against the social media company.
Democrats have also expressed criticism of the power and influence of tech giants, though their criticisms differ from Republicans in that they believe social media platforms do not do enough to stop the spread of “misinformation” and want increased censorship of what they consider to be “fake news.”
Facebook currently faces antitrust lawsuits from 46 state attorneys general and two territories as well as the Federal Trade Commission.
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