Facebook is ending a key 2016 Trump campaign tactic

By: Christina Bonnington, The Daily Dot, September 21, 2018

After facing criticism from Congress, Facebook says it will no longer embed employees in political campaigns, a practice it and other tech companies have a history of doing.

The Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog organization, released a report in August explaining companies such as Facebook and Google embed employees in political campaigns to inform campaign strategy. According to that report, the Google Transparency Project, this sort of political involvement benefits both parties. For campaigns, it means “free” aid in targeting citizens and swaying their vote. Companies, meanwhile, gain valuable intel on political lobbying and establish relationships with politicians who could prove important in representing their interests in the future.

However, the practice seems to skirt both lobbying guidelines and rules set by the Federal Election Commission. This Campaign for Accountability called on lawmakers in Congress and the Senate to look into the practice and determine whether it’s something that needs regulation.

“It raises a host of troubling questions, including whether the corporations are circumventing a ban on donating to campaigns and failing to disclose valuable, ‘in-kind’ contributions,” the Campaign for Accountability writes.

Going forward, Facebook will offer political campaigns access to its political advertising website for advice.

“Facebook made the right decision to end its practice of providing free consultants to presidential campaigns,” Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Daniel E. Stevens said in a statement. “It’s time for other tech companies, including Google, to follow Facebook’s lead and stop trying to curry favor with politicians by offering free campaign services.”

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