Facebook is reportedly funding a national “grassroots campaign” to fight anti-Big Tech legislation in Congress. Facebook reportedly set up a proxy to sway the public against bills that would hurt the company.
According to The Washington Examiner:
Facebook founded American Edge, a political advocacy group, in late 2019 with a single $4 million donation in order to try and kill bipartisan antitrust legislation in Washington through op-eds in local papers, critical advertisements, and collaborations with conservative think tanks, business associations, and former national security officials, the Washington Post reported.
American Edge spent nearly $2 million on Facebook ads and another $70,000 on Google ads. The group also release multiple op-eds criticizing antitrust bills as hurting the tech sector and allowing foreign enemies like China and Russia to dominate the United States in tech innovation.
“Facebook can’t be the messenger,” said a person familiar with American Edge who spoke anonymously to the Washington Post. “If we are out there saying it, people won’t believe it as much, so the conversation is how can you set up a proxy.”
The group’s ads and op-eds bashed government officials and lawmakers who are trying to rein in Big Tech companies such as Facebook and Google as having a “misguided agenda” or taking action that would “take away the technology we use every day.”
The bipartisan antitrust legislation, which passed the House Judiciary Committee last June, includes six sweeping antitrust bills aimed at reining in tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Three of the House bipartisan bills also have Senate counterparts, which have also advanced out of committee on a bipartisan basis.
The legislation’s advancement marks the most serious effort to reshape the tech industry to date.