A broad coalition of grassroots organizations announced Tuesday that they would either pull their existing paid Facebook ads or hold purchases of new ads for a minimum of two weeks in response to the cynical advertising strategy employed by FWD.us, the political organization founded by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
The coalition, led by environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters, immigration-rights organizations like Presente.org, and member-driven progressive organizations like MoveOn.org and Democracy for America, is calling on FWD.us to stop running ads that support regressive policies like building the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Ostensibly an organization dedicated to comprehensive immigration reform, ads run by FWD.us’s subsidiaries have also attacked health care reform, the 2009 stimulus, and “Chicago-style politics.”
Coalition members include:
Democracy for America
League of Conservation Voters
“Leaders in the technology community have every right to talk about how immigration reform will benefit their businesses,” said former Senator Russ Feingold, founder of Progressives United. “But instead, FWD.us has chosen a strategy that’s condescending to voters and counterproductive to the cause of reform.”
“Facebook took the extraordinary step of rejecting our ad featuring Mark Zuckerberg's photo along with a headline asking him to stop pushing pro-Keystone XL propaganda," said Becky Bond, Political Director of CREDO. “But the ads that truly need to be pulled are the cynical and ineffective anti-environmental political commercials that Zuckerberg and FWD.us are airing in South Carolina and Alaska.”
"Just last month, the Sierra Club announced our support of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Today, we are proud to be a part of this strong coalition of diverse voices standing united to say that we need immigration reform now - but the way to achieve it isn't a cynical strategy of selling out a healthy future for all of our families for a few political points," said Michael Brune, Sierra Club’s Executive Director.
"There's a whole lot to dislike about Mark Zuckerberg's decision to run these dirty energy ads. Since FWD.us is continuing to bankroll ads supporting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and drilling in the Arctic, we've stopped running our ads on Facebook," said Vanessa Kritzer, LCV Online Campaigns Manager.
“While the cynical disrespect of voters that FWD.us illustrates in their ads might play well among Washington's lobbying class, it takes a special level of disdain for the American people to believe that insulting their intelligence is the best way to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of Democracy for America. “Plain and simple: If Facebook executives are going to fund efforts that try to pit progressive priorities against one another and divide the progressive movement, we’re going to stop funding them.”
Nick Berning, Communications Director for MoveOn.org said, "MoveOn members are committed to passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year, but unlike FWD.us, we don't support throwing other important issues like access to health care and action to combat climate change under the bus to do it. We find FWD.us and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's advertisements promoting the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline and criticizing Obamacare deeply disturbing."