Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

More Progressives Target Zuckerberg on Facebook over FWD.us

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 8 2013

Progressives United, the political action committee founded by former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, is coordinating the latest push by progressive groups against the advertising tactics of FWD.us, the pro-immigration advocacy group backed by Mark Zuckerberg and other technology companies.

After initial protest efforts by groups such as Credo and the Sierra Club, Progressives United reached out to those to those organizations and others, said Josh Orton, spokesperson for Progressives United. That coalition, which also includes MoveOn, Democracy For America, Daily Kos, the League of Conservation Voters, 350.org, Presente, Environmental Action and UltraViolet, vowed in an announcement yesterday that for a minimum of two weeks, they would pull their paid Facebook ad campaigns and hold purchases of new ad campaigns.

That also applies to the coalition's own advocacy efforts on Facebook itself, said Orton. A Facebook page backed by the coalition with the message "Tell FWD.us and Mark Zuckerberg: Pull Your Dirty Ads" has over 11,700 supporters, and Orton said the growth is coming through outreach to e-mail lists and other efforts, and not promoted posts or campaigns.

The aim of the effort is not "bankrupting Facebook," Orton said. "The point of this is to send a political message to Zuckerberg...[Zuckerberg and other technology leaders] have a legitimate story about why they support immigration reform ... We are protesting their tactics."

With its advertisements backing Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and in favor of the Keystone Pipeline, progressive issues such as the environment and health care reform are being "thrown under the bus" by FWD.us, he said.

"We think it's bad strategy executed poorly," Orton went on to say. Running those ads is condescending, he said, implying that people in those states were too naive to have a proper discussion about the immigration issue.

"The ads are not about immigration and have nothing to do with immigration reform," he said, and draw on "Tea Party" rhetoric from the 2010 election with references to "Chicago-style politics" and "wasteful stimulus spending." If Zuckerberg does not hold those views, Orton said, "the approach is entirely cynical and transactional."

But even with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook as a target of the campaign, Orton said the use of Facebook's own tools was a self-evident strategy. "We're winking towards the irony of it," he said. "You have to go where the people are."

The ideal outcome, he said, would be "for them to change strategies and admit this cynical route is not the way to go." Orton added that there "are some indications that Facebook is starting to take notice," but said he could not expand on that at this time.

"We recognize that not everyone will always agree with or be pleased by our strategy – FWD.us remains totally committed to supporting a bipartisan policy agenda that will boost the knowledge economy, including comprehensive immigration reform," FWD.us spokesperson Kate Hanson wrote in an e-mail to techPresident.

On its Facebook page, FWD.us is raising awareness about tomorrow's Senate hearings on immigration reform. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today contributed an opinion piece to TechCrunch in support of immigration reform.

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hot Spots

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

More