For-profit

Facebook

Formation:

February 2004

Type:

For-Profit Social Media Corporation

Founders:

Andrew McCullum

Dustin Moskovitz

Mark Zuckerberg

Chris Hughes

Eduardo Saverin

Facebook is a Menlo Park, California-based social media and social networking service. Along with current chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founders include Andrew McCullum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin. The company is colloquially considered among the “Big Four” technology firms which include Google, Amazon, and Apple. [1]

Products

Facebook, in addition to its flagship social media platform, also controls the social media platform Instagram, the person-to-person communications platform Messenger, and the messaging application WhatsApp. [2]

Controversies

Alleged Bias against Conservatives

In January 2019, Facebook refused ads to producers of the film, Roe v. Wade because they considered the film to be a “political ad”. [3]

In 2018, Facebook banned ads from pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List supporting Matt Rosendale’s campaign for U.S. Senate from Montana. [4]

In 2017, Facebook banned ads from Michigan Right to Life on three separate occasions. Facebook claimed it made the ban in error. [5]

In 2016, speaking to left-of-center publication Gizmodo, former Facebook employees who worked as “news curators” said that the company routinely suppressed conservative publications and content that favored conservative causes by barring stories about conservative events and politicians from the site’s “Trending” feature. [6]

Cambridge Analytica Data Handling

The political data vendor Cambridge Analytica, known for its connections to right-wing political activist Steve Bannon, conservative political donor Rebekah Mercer, and the Presidential campaign of Donald Trump, closed in 2018 after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had improperly accessed certain data on the Facebook platform. Critics noted that Cambridge Analytica’s practices resembled those of other political data organizations on both right and left that accessed the Facebook platform. [7]

Banning Gun Sales

In 2016, Facebook banned users from coordinating private gun sales on the platform and their partner application, Instagram. [8] This became an issue when Facebook suspended U.S. Senate candidate Austin Petersen (R-MO) for a month after he promoted a campaign-related rifle  giveaway om the site. [9]

Criticism

In May 2019, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for the U.S. government to break up the companyin an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times. Citing a number of private conversations in which Zuckerberg confessed that he wanted to achieve complete “domination” over the social media market, Hughes argued that Facebook had intentionally become too powerful for other companies to compete with, and lawmakers therefore must step in and play their historical role as the disruptors of monopolies for the benefit of a more competitive private sector. [10]

Campaign Spending

People and political committees associated with Facebook are major contributors to political candidates. During the 2018 election cycle, Facebook donated over $460,000 dollars to candidates for federal office. Donations went to candidates of both parties with slightly more going to Republicans. [11]

During the 2016 election cycle, Facebook donated over $500,000 to candidates for federal office. Donations went to candidates of both parties, with slightly more going to Republicans. [12] During the 2014 election cycle, Facebook donated over $300,000 to candidates for federal office. Donations went to candidates of both parties, with slightly more going to Republicans. [13] During the 2012 election cycle, Facebook donated over $250,000 to candidates for federal office. Donations went to candidates of both parties with slightly more going to Republicans. [14]

People

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Facebook. Zuckerberg found the company while at Harvard with classmates Andrew McCullum, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin.

Politically, Zuckerberg has supported a number of candidates of both parties, but in recent election cycles he has provided more support to Democrats. During the 2018 midterm election reporting cycle, Zuckerberg donated to California Democrat Katie Porter, and during the 2016 election reporting cycle, Zuckerberg made a $10,000 donation to the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee. [15] [16]

During the 2014 midterm election reporting cycle, Zuckerberg donated to Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), then-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), then-former speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and candidate Sean Eldridge (D-NY), the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. [17]

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the company’s chief operating officer, author, and activist. Previously, she was vice president of global online sales and operations at Google. She was also former chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

In 2014, Sandberg joined with Beyoncé, Jane Lynch, and Jennifer Garner in the feminist “Ban Bossy” campaign. [18]  In 2016, Sandberg endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. [19]

Sandberg has been a major donor to Democratic Party candidates, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Patty Murray (D-WA), in addition to Democratic Party organizations, such as Rhode Island Democratic State Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. [20]

Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes is a co-founder of Facebook and early adviser to the company. Hughes left Facebook in 2007 to work as a digital media adviser to then-Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for president. [21]

Hughes is married to Sean Eldridge, the former political director of pro-same-sex marriage advocacy organization Freedom to Marry. [22] Eldridge unsuccessfully ran as a Democratic candidate for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014. [23]

In 2012, Hughes the purchased left-of-center magazine The New Republic and became its editor-in-chief  until he sold the publication in 2016 due to struggles with writers and editors. [24] [25] The paper was eventually purchased by Oregon publisher Win McCormack. [26]

Hughes endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in the 2016 election. [27]

In May 2019, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for the U.S. government to break up the companyin an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times. Citing a number of private conversations in which Zuckerberg confessed that he wanted to achieve complete “domination” over the social media market, Hughes argued that Facebook had intentionally become too powerful for other companies to compete with, and lawmakers therefore must step in and play their historical role as the disruptors of monopolies for the benefit of a more competitive private sector. [28]

Dustin Moskovitz

Dustin Moskovitz is a technology entrepreneur and co-founder of Facebook. Moskovitz and his wife, former Wall Street Journal reporter Cari Tuna, are the founders of the philanthropy Good Ventures, a group which plans to give all the couple’s net worth (estimated at over $12 billion) in a giving pledge. [29]

In 2018, Moscovitz donated to House candidates Andrew Janz (D-CA), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Angie Craig (D-MN), Dan McCready (D-NC), JD Scholten (D-IA), and Randy Bryce (D-WI). He also donated over $30,000 to state Democratic committees in Colorado, New Jersey, Maryland, and California and $2 million to Senate Majority PAC to help Democrats attempt to regain control of the U.S. Senate. [30]

In 2016, Moscovitz donated over $400,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign along with U.S. Senate candidates Jason Kander (D-MO), Katie McGinty (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Ted Strickland (D-OH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV). He also donated to state parties in Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, Maine, Utah, Rhode Island, Florida, Georgia, Wyoming, Mississippi, Arkansas, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Idaho, and Minnesota. [31]

Sean Parker

Sean Parker is a technology entrepreneur who founded the file sharing network Napster and served as the first president of Facebook. Parker met Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin in 2004; he later became the company’s president in summer 2004. [32] In 2005, Parker was asked to leave Facebook as president after being arrested for cocaine possession. [33]

Parker has donated to both Democrats and Republicans but leans towards Democrats on issues like campaign finance reform and a Nevada gun control initiative. [34] [35]

In 2010, Parker donated $100,000 to the California Proposition 19 campaign, which would have legalized marijuana throughout the state. [36] In 2016, he donated $400,000 to Proposition 63 campaign which would have required background checks for all ammunition purchases in California. [37]

Parker played an instrumental role in adding provisions for Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. [38]

Kenneth Chenault

Kenneth Chenault is the former CEO of American Express and has been a member of Facebook’s board of directors since February 2018, the same month of his retirement from American Express. [39]

Chenault donated $2,700 to Tamara Harris, a New Jersey Democratic candidate for Congress who ended up losing her June 2018 primary, and Reginald Thomas, a Kentucky Democrat who ran against and lost to Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) in the November 2018 elections. [40]

References

  1. Rivas, Teresa. “Ranking The Big Four Tech Stocks: Google is No. 1, Apple Comes in Last”. Barron’s. August 22, 2017. Accessed April 30,2019. https://www.barrons.com/articles/ranking-the-big-four-internet-stocks-google-is-no-1-apple-comes-in-last-1503412102 ^
  2. Molla, Rani. “WhatsApp Is Now Facebook’s Second-biggest Property, Followed by Messenger and Instagram.” Vox. February 01, 2018. Accessed May 08, 2019. https://www.vox.com/2018/2/1/16959804/whatsapp-facebook-biggest-messenger-instagram-users. ^
  3. Zilber, April. Kenton, Luke. “Facebook bans controversial pro-life “Roe v. Wade” film starring Jon Voight from advertising the movie on the social network because it considers it a “political ad.” Daily Mail. January 20, 2019. Accessed May 8, 2019. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6613765/Facebook-rejects-ads-producers-controversial-pro-life-film-starring-Jon-Voight.html ^
  4. Cimmino, Jeffrey. “Facebook Bans Pro-Life Ads Supporting GOP Senate Candidates”. November 1, 2018. Accessed May 8, 2019. https://freebeacon.com/politics/facebook-bans-pro-life-ads-supporting-gop-senate-candidates/ ^
  5. Mack, Julie. “Facebook backs off ad ban, again, for a Michigan Right to Life chapter”. Michigan Live. November 3, 2017. Accessed May 8, 2019.  https://www.mlive.com/news/2017/11/michigan_right_to_life_chapter.html ^
  6. Nunez, Michael. “Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News”. Gizmodo. May 9, 2016. Accessed May 8, 2019 https://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006 ^
  7. Walter, Scott. “Featured Op-Ed: Hey, Zuck, Cambridge Analytica Wasn’t The First Of Its Kind.” Capital Research Center. March 27, 2018. Accessed May 08, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/featured-op-ed-hey-zuck-cambridge-analytica-wasnt-the-first-of-its-kind/. ^
  8. Guyun, Jessica. “Facebook bans private gun sales”. USA Today. January 29, 2016. Accessed May 8, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/01/29/facebook-cracks-down-on-gun-sales/79543652/ ^
  9. Pappas, Alex. “Republican Senate candidate in Missouri says Facebook banned him over AR-15 giveaway”. Fox News. September 28, 2017. Accessed May 8, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republican-senate-candidate-in-missouri-says-facebook-banned-him-over-ar-15-giveaway ^
  10. Hughes, Chris. “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.” The New York Times. May 09, 2019. Accessed May 09, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/opinion/sunday/chris-hughes-facebook-zuckerberg.html. ^
  11. Center for Responsive Politics. “Contributions to Federal Candidates, 2018 cycle”. Opensecrets.org. Accessed May 1, 2019 https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cmte=C00502906&cycle=2018 ^
  12. Center for Responsive Politics. “Contributions to Federal Candidates, 2016 cycle”. Opensecrets.org. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cmte=C00502906&cycle=2016 ^
  13. Center for Responsive Politics. “ Contributions to Federal Candidates, 2014 cycle.” Opensecrets.org. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cmte=C00502906&cycle=2014 ^
  14. Center for Responsive Politics. “Contributions to Federal Candidates, 2012 cycle.” Opensecrets.org. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cmte=C00502906&cycle=2014 ^
  15. Federal Elections Commission. “Individual Contributions: Mark Zuckerberg”. Accessed April 30,2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2016&contributor_name=Mark+Zuckerberg&min_date=01%2F01%2F2015&max_date=12%2F31%2F2016 ^
  16. Federal Elections Commission. “Individual Contributions: Mark Zuckerberg”. Accessed April 30,2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2018&contributor_name=Mark+Zuckerberg&min_date=01%2F01%2F2017&max_date=12%2F31%2F2018 ^
  17. Federal Elections Commission. “Individual Contributions: Mark Zuckerberg”. Accessed April 30,2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2014&contributor_name=Mark+Zuckerberg&min_date=01%2F01%2F2013&max_date=12%2F31%2F2014 ^
  18. Lee, Jolie. “Beyoncé’, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join “Ban Bossy” campaign”. USA Today. March 10, 2014. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/03/10/ban-bossy-sheryl-sandberg-beyonce-gardner/6262309/ ^
  19. Nelson, Louis. “Hillary Clinton Racks Up Business Endorsements”. Politico. June, 23, 2016. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/business-leaders-endorse-hillary-clinton-224706 ^
  20. Federal Election Commission. “Individual Contributions: Sheryl Sandberg”. Accessed May 1, 2019 https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2018&contributor_name=Sheryl+sANDBERG&min_date=01%2F01%2F2017&max_date=12%2F31%2F2018 ^
  21. Stelter, Brian. “The Facebooker Who Friended Obama”. New York Times. July 7, 2008. Accessed May 1, 2019 https://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/07/technology/07hughes.html ^
  22. Ellison, Sarah. “The Complex Power Coupledom of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge”. Vanity Fair. June 4, 2015. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/06/chris-hughes-sean-eldridge-new-republic-congress-run ^
  23. Byers, Dylan. “NY-19: Sean Eldridge concedes defeat”. November 4, 2014. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2014/11/ny-19-sean-eldridge-concedes-defeat-198210 ^
  24. Stelter, Brian and De La Merced, Michael. “New Republic Gets New Owner Steeped in New Media.” New York Times.  March 9, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/new-republic-gets-an-owner-steeped-in-new-media/?smid=tw-mediadecoder&seid=auto ^
  25. Somaiya, Ravi. “ The New Republic Is For Sale Again. New York Times. January 11, 2016. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/business/media/chris-hughes-selling-the-new-republic.html ^
  26. Byers, Dylan. “The New Republic is sold by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes”. CNN Money. February 26, 2016. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://money.cnn.com/2016/02/26/media/new-republic-chris-hughes-win-mccormack/index.html ^
  27. James, Brendan. “Media Bigwigs Donate to Hillary Clinton; Writers Donate to Bernie Sanders”. International Business Times. February 10, 2016. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.ibtimes.com/media-bigwigs-donate-hillary-clinton-writers-donate-bernie-sanders-2301896 ^
  28. Hughes, Chris. “It’s Time to Break Up Facebook.” The New York Times. May 09, 2019. Accessed May 09, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/opinion/sunday/chris-hughes-facebook-zuckerberg.html. ^
  29. “About Us”. Good Ventures. Accessed May 7, 2019. http://www.goodventures.org/about-us/vision-and-values ^
  30. “Individual Contributions: Dustin Moskovitz”. Federal Elections Commission. Accessed May 7, 2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2018&contributor_name=Dustin+Moskovitz&min_date=01%2F01%2F2017&max_date=12%2F31%2F2018 ^
  31. “Individual Contributions: Dustin Moskovitz”. Federal Elections Commission. Accessed May 7, 2019 https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2016&contributor_name=Dustin+Moskovitz&min_date=01%2F01%2F2015&max_date=12%2F31%2F2016 ^
  32. Kirkpatrick, David. “ With A Little Help From His Friends”. Vanity Fair. September 6, 2010. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2010/10/sean-parker-201010 ^
  33. Eaton, Kit. “Why You Should Care About Sean Parker: The Man Behind Napstar, Facebook, and Chatroulette”. Fast Company.  September 8, 2010. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.fastcompany.com/1687619/why-you-should-care-about-sean-parker-man-behind-napster-facebook-and-chatroulette ^
  34. Sutton, Scott. “Former Facebook President Sean Parkers backs Nevada gun-control initiative with $250,000”. Las Vegas Sun. January 20, 2015. Accessed May 1, 2019 https://web.archive.org/web/20151118164228/http://lasvegas.suntimes.com/las-news/las-politics-government/7/104/76502/sean-parker-gun-control/ ^
  35. Zakrewski, Cat. “Silicon Valley Moguls Push for Campaign Finance Reform”. TechCrunch. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://techcrunch.com/2014/06/24/silicon-valley-moguls-push-for-campaign-finance-reform/ ^
  36. The Guardian. “Facebook co-founder gives $100,000 to push to legalize cannabis in California.” The Guardian. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20151118164228/http://lasvegas.suntimes.com/las-news/las-politics-government/7/104/76502/sean-parker-gun-control/ ^
  37. Winton, Kate. “Sean Parker and 4 Other Billionaires Back Winning California Gun Control Proposition”. Forbes. November 9, 2016. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2016/11/09/five-billionaires-donate-1-million-to-support-california-gun-control-ballot-proposition/#387a11ea14be ^
  38. Tankersley, Jim. “Tucked Into The Tax Bill, a Plan to Help Distressed America”. New York Times. January 29, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2019 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/29/business/tax-bill-economic-recovery-opportunity-zones.html ^
  39. Vanian, Jonathan. “Facebook Adds First Black Board Member, Former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault”. Fortune. January 18, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2019. http://fortune.com/2018/01/18/facebook-board-member-kenneth-chenault/ ^
  40. Federal Elections Commissions. “Individual Contributions: Kenneth Chenault”. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2018&contributor_name=Kenenth+Chenault&contributor_name=Kenneth+Chenault&min_date=01%2F01%2F2017&max_date=12%2F31%2F2018 ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Mark Zuckerberg
    Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
  2. Sean Parker
    Former President (2004-2005)
  3. Kenneth Chenault
    Board Member
  4. Sheryl Sandberg
    Chief Operating Officer
  5. Chris Hughes
    Co-Founder
  6. Marc Elias
    Consultant
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