Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg is facing a wave of backlash thanks to recent moves by his new advocacy group.
A subsidiary of his new political start-up called FWD.us has aired ads supporting drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and support for the Keystone XL pipeline. The group's focus is mainly on passing the comprehensive immigration reform bill, and the group has justified the ads as a way to build support for comprehensive immigration reform from Republican legislators.
CREDO fired back at Zuckerberg last week, posting a counter-ad on Facebook with Zuckerberg's photo asking him to pull his support for Keystone XL; Facebook rejected the ad. According to ThinkProgress:
Facebook initially informed [CREDO] they rejected the ad because it used Facebook trademarks—specifically, Zuckerberg’s image. Though the image used was fully licensed for creative commons use, a Facebook representative told ThinkProgress that any images of Zuckerberg are off-limits, as he is part of the Facebook brand. The rules governing Facebook brand usage specify “trademarks, names, domain names, logos” but does not explicitly restrict images of Zuckerberg.
The subsidiary group responsible for the dirty energy ads is called Americans for a Conservative Direction and the ad in question originally supported Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) for advocating for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and expanded drilling in the Arctic. The CREDO backlash started with a petition launched on the website's grassroots activism platform.
“The people on Facebook who made Mark Zuckerberg a billionaire need to know that he is using his fortune to bankroll pro-Keystone XL propaganda," Becky Bond, CREDO’s political director, told Campus Progress. "And if Facebook is giving up ad revenue in order to protect the CEO from public scrutiny of his private political giving, then that's something that both users, employees and shareholders absolutely need to know."
Other progressive groups have also begun pulling ads from Facebook in response.