Facebook, Google and Microsoft freeze PAC contributions in the wake of Capitol siege

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Facebook is reportedly reassessing its political spending practices after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Following the violence on Capitol Hill last week, Facebook has suspended contributions from its political action committee. And it’s not alone among tech companies.

“Following last week’s awful violence in DC, we are pausing all of our PAC contributions for at least the current quarter, while we review our policies,” Facebook spokesperson Daniel Roberts told CNET. Roberts noted that this doesn’t apply to political spending at large.

Google has also frozen political contributions following the attack. A spokesperson for the tech giant said it’s frozen all NetPAC political contributions and is reviewing its policies. 

AT&T is also evaluating its policies about political contributions.

“Employees on our Federal PAC Board convened a call today and decided to suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes last week,” the network carrier told CNET.

Short-term home rental site Airbnb also said it’s withholding financial support from those politicians who voted against the certification of the presidential election results. “Airbnb strongly condemns last week’s attack on the US Capitol and the efforts to undermine our democratic process,” the company said in a statement. Airbnb added that it “will continue to uphold our community policies by banning violent hate group members when we learn of such memberships.”

Axios reported earlier that Microsoft is taking similar steps. Historically, tech PACs have donated to both Democrats and Republicans. 

“Microsoft’s political action committee decided last Friday that it will not make any political donations until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events,” a company spokesperson told CNET in an email. “The PAC regularly pauses its donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it will take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees.”

Social media companies have  cracked down on President Donald Trump after a mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Among the actions taken: Facebook blocked Trump indefinitely, and Twitter banned his account permanently. Last year, Twitter closed its PAC because of its belief that “political influence should be earned, not bought.” The company’s PAC hasn’t made any donations to candidates since 2018 and it donated its remaining funds to support nonpartisan voter registration activities.

source: cnet.com

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