Like the college student user base upon which Facebook was founded, the social network is growing up and acknowledging its civic responsibility. The company filed to create its own political action committee (PAC) Monday and has registered the domains FBPAC.us and FBPAC.org.
Facebook couldn’t be reached for comment, so there’s no word yet as to which candidates or parties Facebook plans to support, but it looks like the company submitted its paperwork in time for the 2012 presidential elections. Will it be a blue company or a red company?
I seriously can’t wait to find out. I’m actually bummed that Facebook hasn’t told me yet. I know the company is probably not going to tell me that it’s 100% behind Barack Obama or Rick Perry for president, but I really need to know if we’re natural enemies…so…if you could just get back to me when you can, Facebook, that would be awesome.
Facebook has already spent over $1 million in lobbying efforts between 2009 and 2011—which is almost the same amount that Apple spent over the course of ten years from 1998 to 2008. Individual employees cannot spend more than $5000 at a time on lobbying efforts.
So far, Facebook has been on the frontline of issues as such online privacy and security for the private industry, freedom of expression on the Internet, discussion of location-based services, amending the criminal penalty provision for copyright infringement, allowing government and congressional offices to access social media to interact with citizens, funding more power and water to Oregon to support high tech-growth in that state, and more. Earlier this May, Facebook disclosed that it spent $6,600 in an effort to kill a California bill that would have imposed a penalty on social networking sites for displaying personal data on children under the age of 18.
Other companies, like Google and Microsoft, have political action committees and have spent millions lobbying and contributing to individual campaigns. Google and Apple have largely been characterized as “blue” companies, having predominantly backed democrats in the past. Microsoft is a bit of a mix.
In terms of lobbying efforts, Apple has never employed more than 30 federal lobbyists at any given time, while Microsoft—which has a long-running political action committee—has never employed fewer than 60 federal lobbyists at a time. Thus, it would make sense that while Apple spent $1.7 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2008, Microsoft spent $7.5 million during that same time period.
Google spent $5.2 million on lobbying in 2010.
Image source: dawgfarts.com