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Facebook Wants To Ensure They Remain ‘Essential’, Along With Other Social Media Companies


AvatarHaley Kennington

Posted On May 12, 2020

An article published by The Washington Post on Monday revealed Facebook’s brand new non-profit organization, “American Edge,” that – along with other social media companies – seeks to heal self-inflicted scrutiny and improve their overall image, while selling their Silicon Valley products as “essential” to politicians.

The Washington Post reported:

The organization is called American Edge, and it aims through a barrage of advertising and other political spending to convince policymakers that Silicon Valley is essential to the U.S. economy and the future of free speech, according to three people familiar with the matter as well as documents reviewed by The Washington Post. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the group because it hasn’t officially been announced.

In December, American Edge formed as a nonprofit organization, and last month, it registered an accompanying foundation, according to incorporation documents filed in Virginia. The setup essentially allows it to navigate a thicket of tax laws in such a way that it can raise money, and blitz the airwaves with ads, without the obligation of disclosing all of its donors. Many powerful political actors — including the National Rifle Association — similarly operate with the aid of “social welfare” groups.

Facebook is viewed as a critical, primary driver in helping to launch American Edge, the sources said, though some cautioned it is not the only one. On the group’s board are a former Republican governor, federal regulator and Democratic congressman, according to people familiar with the effort, and it’s being advised by a stable of veteran Democratic and Republican consultants.

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Facebook is no stranger to scrutiny, having testified (unsworn) twice before Congress – once in April 2018 where he apologized to Congress for their flawed data privacy policies collected by Cambridge Analytica (that resulted in a fine of $5 billion by the FTC), and again in October 2019 before the House Financial Services Committee regarding the platform’s cryptocurrency Libra and digital wallet Calibra, their censorship of certain accounts, fact-checking content, freedom of speech (or lack there of on the platform) and allegations of advertising discrimination.

Mashable‘s Alex Perry reported that the Democratic congressman hinted at by WaPo is Rep. Chris Carney of Pennsylvania. Perry also named Susana Martinez, Republican Governor from New Mexico as another American Edge board member, with the federal regulator as former FEC commissioner Bradley Smith.