Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Environmentalists Hit Facebook CEO's Advocacy Ads

When corporate leaders decide to take public political stands, they sometimes are surprised by the "blowback" for their brand. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and CEO, may soon find that out with his new advocacy group Fwd.us. Created in April,  Fwd.us promotes policies designed to keep the United States and its citizens competitive in a global economy, including comprehensive immigration and education reform. But the organization also recently paid for television ads that supported two conservative politicians seeking expansion of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, drawing criticism from progressive and environmental groups and even a small group of protesters at Facebook's California headquarters. The goal was to back the politicians, Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, in exchange for their support of immigration reform, but the environmental groups didn't see it that way. "The advertising, including the harsh and immediate counterattack from the climate change community, underscores the complexity of publicly traded companies and their CEOs frontally engaging in candidate campaigns," Democratic strategist Chris Lehane told the Los Angeles Times in a recent story. "Politics is a full-contact sport and when a company jumps into the arena, even if just through the actions of its leadership, it opens up the political brand of that company." See the full news story at http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-facebook-zuckerberg-20130502,0,5421214.story

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