The week that President Barack Obama visited Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s home, the social network confirmed that it had filed the required documents to launch its own political-action committee.
It took long enough: After staffing up an office in Washington D.C. and more recently hiring top-notch political publicists including Bill Clinton’s former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart, one might have expected a PAC to have formed ages ago.
The Hill broke the news Monday, and Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes confirmed the formation of the PAC in an e-mailed statement:
Facebook 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 news of Facebook registering the fbpac.org and fbpac.us domain names was originally reported by Fusible Sunday.
Political ties run deep within Facebook’s senior management, as chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg served as chief of staff of the Treasury Department during the administration of former President Bill Clinton; vice president of global public policy Marne Levine had been chief of staff of the National Economic Council for the current administration of President Barack Obama; and former George W. Bush administration deputy chief of staff Joel Kaplan has been the head of the Washington, D.C., office for the social network since June.
Facebook has also been steadily ramping up spending on lobbying, with Noyes telling The New York Times:
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.
Thus far, Facebook has held live chats with U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle, and there were no indications that the PAC and the social network will be intertwined, but a platform of more than 800 million users is a powerful tool.
Readers: Do you think Facebook should be dabbling in politics at all, or do you think that as long as the social network doesn’t abuse its giant reach, the PAC is fine?