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Congress

Facebook: We're Greener Than You Think

April 28, 2011

After getting raked over the coals -- pun intended -- by Greenpeace for relying on dirty fuel to power some of its massive server farms, Facebook has launched a PR offensive aimed at shoring up its eco credentials. In a report titled "How Dirty is Your Data?" that was timed to coincide with Earth Day, Greenpeace gave Facebook two "Ds" and an "F" on its energy policies.

"Facebook, which accounts for 9% of Internet traffic in the US and reaches nearly 73% of all Internet users, appears to lack the vision to become a company powered by clean energy," the report says. Other tech icons faulted by Greenpeace for contributing to global warming include Apple, HP and Twitter (which received three "Fs").

Shifting into damage control effort, Facebook immediately "friended" Greenpeace by sending the environmental group an April 21 letter underscoring that it is "fundamentally rethinking" how it consumes energy. The company notes that it has installed solar panels at its data center in Prineville, Ore., and is making additional investments in renewable energy.

On a special Facebook page highlighting its green initiatives, the social networking site trumpets everything from its water conservation to the bicycle program at is main campus.

To read more about Silicon Valley's track record on environmental -- as well as labor -- issues, see "High Tech, Low Standards" in the latest edition of National Journal magazine.

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