Facebook Lobbies on the Hill with a newly formed Political Action Committee

03Oct11

Chapter 6 of MMW talks about deregulation in terms of the web’s content (pg. 78).  This article appeared interesting to me because according to Mashable, Facebook is putting quite a bit of funding into lobbying on the Hill. Not only is Facebook creating websites “FBPAC.org” and “FBPAC.us”; Facebook is also spending $550,000 per year (Mashable) to lobby in Washington D.C.

Although this article only states that Facebook is simply allocating funds to lobby and garnering political support, it is apparent that Facebook is doing this for regulatory reasons. Most likely, Facebook’s slogan, described by the article as “promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” (Mashable), is not completely accurate. I would argue that Facebook is lobbying against regulations and for deregulation to maximize profit from their advertising revenue model. In other words, they want more deregulation to access user information so they can market more and therefore make more money. This strategy, to lobby for less regulation, is not uncommon to many tech companies.

It seems to me that Napoli covers the many sides of structural deregulatory issues in the New Media Environment (MMW, pgs 78-83). While he covers the many topics with regard to deregulation, my interpretation of Napoli’s overall message is the highlighting of the importance of new rationales behind structural media regulations. In the example of Facebook, the questions of who owns users’ private information, who Facebook can sell it to, and what those third party companies can do with the information, are all relevant.

One Mashable user commented on this article with the following: “Since it is only a matter of time before a company begins to outwardly fund and/or influence politics. It is my hope that Facebook is able to do this honestly and transparently, and with a trustworthy individual at the helm. No matter what happens, they are carrying a big stick.” (Mashable)

Regardless of the issue at hand, I think this commentator describes it well in that media organizations, Facebook especially, is has a high degree of responsibility while imposing its strategy and influencing the political arena.

-Dan Schiffman

Link to Article

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