Jan 11, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: Facebook freezing political spending after Capitol attack

A photo of the Facebook logo displayed on a smartphone screen.

Photo: Valera Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook is halting political spending for at least the first quarter of 2021 following last week's deadly attack on the Capitol.

Why it matters: Tech companies have been de-platforming President Donald Trump and his supporters at a rapid pace since the attacks, and freezing political giving may be the next step tech companies take to show they're seriously rethinking their approach to Washington.

Details: Facebook will freeze all contributions from its political action committee and is launching a review of its political spending practices, company spokesman Andy Stone told Axios.

The big picture: Microsoft also said in a statement Monday that it is pausing political giving "until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events." Google spokesman José Castañeda said "We have frozen all NetPAC political contributions while we review and reassess its policies following last week's deeply troubling events."

  • Historically, tech PACs have given to both Republican and Democratic candidates, sometimes rankling Silicon Valley's predominantly left-leaning workers. Microsoft said its PAC "regularly pauses its donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it will take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees."
  • Major banks and other corporations have also frozen corporate political giving in the wake of the attack. Other tech companies are likely to follow suit.

Between the lines: "This is the death knell of PACs for tech companies with activist employees," one source told Axios. "This is the final straw."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add new information about Microsoft and Google pausing their own PAC activity.

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