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Mark Zuckerberg's Advocacy Group FWD's TV Ads Spark Online Backlash

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, April 29 2013

A new television ad campaign recently launched by Mark Zuckerberg's advocacy group FWD.us has sparked off a backlash online from a progressive group and other Democrats who are upset that the group is running ads supporting two senators' decision to encourage the development of the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

The two spots, supporting Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska, were featured Friday on the left-leaning blog ThinkProgress. Soon after the piece came out, CREDO Mobile of San Francisco launched a petition-signing campaign to persuade Zuckerberg to pull the ads, as well as a Facebook campaign to spread the word. Hundreds of commenters have also swarmed FWD.us's Facebook page demanding to know why the group is funding the ads, which ThinkProgress posits is to bolster the politicians' profile with specific constituencies in their home states.

Meanwhile, Joe Green, FWD.us' founder and president, spent Monday at TechCrunch Disrupt trying to sell the audience on the importance of immigration reform. There was no mention (not in the recorded video of the main presentation at least) of the old-school television ad campaigns, but there was a pep talk about hiring organizers and building a grassroots campaign in each relevant district to let members of Congress know that immigration reform is important to constituents.