Facebook said Monday it’s freezing political donations and revisiting its policies in the aftermath of the rioting at the Capitol last week by President Donald Trump’s supporters.
“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 Andy Stone said in a statement. The news was first reported by Axios.
Key context: Facebook is the latest major corporation to announce changes to its political contributions in the wake of the violence in Washington, D.C., which left at least five dead.
Business giants including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have said they will temporarily freeze all political contributions through their political action committees, while others such as Marriott have announced more targeted pauses for donations to officials who voted against certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
What it means for tech: The social media giant is also the latest tech company to rethink its approach to political donations. Twitter last year shut down its PAC altogether, in a sign that some Silicon Valley companies are questioning whether that sort of political engagement is worth the potential headaches involved.
Facebook’s move also comes as tech companies are facing heightened scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers for their platforms’ roles in fomenting the violence that took place in Washington last Wednesday. The pro-Trump protest that descended into a full-blown riot through both chambers of Congress was planned across social media platforms, and rioters live-streamed the events in real time.
After the attack, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that the company would block Trump indefinitely, at least until Biden is sworn in, writing that it believes "the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great."
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