On Monday, Facebook filed the necessary paperwork to form the political action committee FB PAC. With Facebook’s increasingly dominant web presence and ever-growing user base of over 800 million, the social network giant is seeking to increase its presence in Washington.
A Facebook spokesman reported the following about the newly formed political entity:
“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.”
The recent move to form FB PAC comes after reports that Facebook spent $320,000 in lobbying during the second quarter of this year, a figure that is almost as much as the company spent during all of 2010. Facebook representative Andrew Noyes commented on the recent lobbying expenditures:
“The increase represents a continuation of our efforts to explain how our service works as well as the important actions we take to protect people who use our service and promote the value of innovation to our economy.”
Last week’s Google Antitrust hearings make it clear that Washington is placing a scrutinizing eye on dominant tech companies and their practices. Facebook’s increased lobbying efforts, along with the recently formed PAC, may indicate that the social network is worried about the attention Washington is giving to tech giants.
As Facebook’s market dominance increases, so does their likelihood of becoming the target of Washington regulation. Facebook’s recent platform changes, which have brought about new privacy concerns, will likely contribute to continued lobbying efforts and political contributions.
While it remains unclear which races or candidates Facebook’s PAC will support during the upcoming elections, one thing is sure: Facebook’s sunny Palo Alto headquarters are quickly becoming intertwined with Washington’s stormy political landscape.