A group of progressive organizations announced Tuesday that they will be pulling their ads from Facebook following revelations that its CEO Mark Zuckerberg funded a series of political ads promoting the Keystone XL pipeline, which prompted a social media campaign calling on Zuckerberg to pull his oil-friendly TV spots.
The group of organizations, led by former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), said the source of their protest is Zuckerberg's new political organization, FWD.us, a "dark money" outfit, which was originally created to push for immigration reform. In the meantime FWD.us ran a "seven figure" ad campaign, as Huffington Post reports, for two lawmakers promoting the development of the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (among other conservative talking points).
"Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg recently helped found a dark-money political group to push for immigration reform, but then the group started running ads favoring the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and drilling for oil in ANWR. Why?" Feingold writes in a letter to Facebook members.
Zuckerberg and his fellow corporate heavies want to boost senators they think are helping them on immigration. They think running these ads will help their allies, so all other concerns fly out the window.
It's another clumsy example of why ultra-wealthy individual and corporate interests shouldn't be able to buy influence in our democracy.
Feingold and the other groups including 350.org, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, CREDO, Daily Kos, Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Presente, and Feingold's Progressives United, have now all promised to either pull the Facebook ads they've already paid for or hold purchases of new ads for a minimum of two weeks, the Huffington Post reports.
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"There's a whole lot to dislike about Mark Zuckerberg's decision to run these dirty energy ads," said Vanessa Kritzer, LCV Online Campaigns Manager. "Since FWD.us is continuing to bankroll ads supporting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and drilling in the Arctic, we've stopped running our ads on Facebook."
“While the cynical disrespect of voters that FWD.us illustrates in their ads might play well among Washington's lobbying class, it takes a special level of disdain for the American people to believe that insulting their intelligence is the best way to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America. “Plain and simple: If Facebook executives are going to fund efforts that try to pit progressive priorities against one another and divide the progressive movement, we’re going to stop funding them.”
Last week, CREDO Action attempted to run an ad on Facebook slamming Zuckerberg for his pro-Keystone ads, but Facebook rejected the ad, saying it violated "company policy."
Becky Bond, Political Director of CREDO added Tuesday:
The ads that truly need to be pulled are the cynical and ineffective anti-environmental political commercials that Zuckerberg and FWD.us are airing in South Carolina and Alaska.
Mother Jones reports:
The ads are no longer on the air, but progressives are nonetheless fuming over FWD.us' tactics. Protesters recently demonstrated outside of Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters, chanting, "Keystone, take a hike. Facebook dislike." CREDO Mobile, the progressive phone company*, distributed signs for that protest and also tried to run an ad on Facebook urging Zuckerberg to kill the pro-Keystone ads. Facebook rejected the ad, saying it violated company policy because it prominently used Zuckerberg's image.