Facebook has filed paperwork to create a political action committee designed to support candidates who promote economic innovation.
The social network, which has more than 800 million active users, filed documents to create “FB PAC” on Monday.
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"FB PAC will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement.
Facebook has upped its political profile in recent months, including hosting President Obama and GOP leaders in live town hall meetings. The company’s lobbying expenditures topped $550,000 for FY 2011, up from $350,000 in 2010, according to lobbying disclosures. Facebook has also beefed up its Washington office, hiring former White House spokesman Joe Lockhart, among others.
Over the weekend Facebook stirred speculation that it would form a PAC by registering Internet domain names like fbpac.org.
Facebook may be trying to head off future scrutiny of its privacy policies on Capitol Hill, but political activism can be dangerous for corporations.
During the 2010 campaign, Target and Best Buy came under fire from activists who accused the companies of supporting a candidate who opposed gay marriage. Boycotts followed and the companies backpedaled.
Unlike Target or Best Buy, Facebook may face additional challenges because the website has become a major new fixture in political campaigns, hosting sites for causes and politicians of all parties.