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Timothy B. Lee

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Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

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Posted at 10:21 PM ET, 09/26/2011

Facebook forms PAC for political donations

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles at his office in Palo Alto, Calif. in this Feb. 5, 2007 file photo. ((AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file) - (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file))
Facebook is forming a political action committee, strengthening ties of the social networking giant with Washington politicians as the company also faces growing questions about how it handles users’ privacy.

Facebook’s 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,” spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a e-mailed statement.

With 800 million users around the world, Facebook’s PAC widens its footprint in Washington, where it has expanded its office and hired big names from the White House and Capitol Hill. On Monday, Republican lawmakers including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) held an event at Facebook to discuss technology and jobs.

Facebook’s sweeping changes announced last week invited fresh concerns of consumer protection violations, as some users complained of confusion and fears that new functions were revealing more about themselves than they would like.

Several tech and Web giants have PACs, an avenue for corporate employees to donate money to political candidates. This year employees of rival Google have donated $570,000 to their PAC, with CEO Larry Page contributing the maximum $5,000 amount to the fund. Microsoft employees have donated $722,000 to the company’s PAC.


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By  |  10:21 PM ET, 09/26/2011

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