It has come to light that Facebook donated $10,000 to a politician with anti-gay beliefs. Here is what you need to know about this controversy.
1. Facebook Donated $10,000 to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes
Valley Wag reports that Facebook donated $10,000 to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who is pictured above. The donation was made in May of this year.
According to the Deseret News, Reyes is a Republican. His run for the attorney general spot was his first attempt at winning political office.
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2. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes Is Against Gay Marriage
The Huffington Post has previously reported that Sean Reyes opposes marriage equality. However, he told reporters, his opposition to gay marriage is not based on “hate”:
“I can assure you, we are not motivated by hate, we are not targeting out of animus or any sinister motives particular individuals or families in Utah.”
3. Facebook Has Issued a Statement
A Facebook spokesperson told GaySaltLake.com:
“Facebook has a strong record on LGBT issues and that will not change, but we make decisions about which candidates to support based on the entire portfolio of issues important to our business, not just one. A contribution to a candidate does not mean that we agree with every policy or position that candidate takes. We made this donation for the same reason we’ve donated to Attorneys General on the opposite side of this issue – because they are committed to fostering innovation and an open Internet.”
Facebook had previously written a pro-diversity statement on the Facebook Diversity page. It read, in part:
“When you come to Facebook to connect with the people, causes, and organizations you care about, we want you to feel comfortable being your true, authentic self.”
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4. Facebook Has Made Other Political Donations in the Past
According to Think Progress, Facebook has made a number of political donations that might raise eyebrows:
“As recently as last year, Facebook contributed to three politicians who supported the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, policies that threatened free speech online, according to the filing. Forty-one percent of Facebook’s PAC contributions also went to politicians who voted against LGBT rights, with another third going toward candidates pushing the deregulation of greenhouse gas emissions and striking down the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.”
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5. Mark Zuckerberg Marched in the Gay Pride Parade Last Month
Just last month, Zuckerberg marched in a Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. Zuckerberg was joined by hundreds of Facebook employees. According to Business Insider, Chris Cox, Facebook’s VP of product was also in attendance at the parade. The Facebook team were stamping people in attendance with “Like” hand stamps.