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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.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Technology

Facebook seeks a new head of U.S. public policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook is looking externally for a new U.S. policy chief as it moves Kevin Martin, a Republican who now holds the job, to a different position, per a memo seen by Axios.

Between the lines: Facebook is moving on from the Trump era in which Republicans held most of the power in Washington and Facebook was particularly eager among tech companies to forge warm relations with GOP policymakers.

2 hours ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.