Facebook, Google and Microsoft all said Monday that they’re freezing political donations in the wake of last week’s deadly riot in the Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters.
The moves came amid a broader halt to corporate campaign contributions in light of Wednesday’s violence, and as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Amazon cut off or restricted key social media channels for the president and his allies.
“Following last week’s awful violence in DC, we are pausing all of our PAC contributions for at least the current quarter, while we review our policies,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement. (The news was first reported by Axios.)
Google similarly said it has frozen all contributions by its NetPAC and would “review and reassess its policies following last week’s deeply troubling events.” Microsoft said its PAC “will not make any political donations until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events.”
Key context: The tech giants are the latest major corporations to announce changes to their political contributions after the attack in Washington, D.C., which left at least five dead.
Business giants including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have said they will temporarily freeze all political contributions through their political action committees, while others such as Marriott have announced more targeted pauses for donations to Republicans who voted against certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
What it means for tech: The giants are also the latest tech companies to rethink their approach to political donations. Twitter last year shut down its PAC altogether, in a sign that some Silicon Valley companies are questioning whether that sort of political engagement is worth the potential headaches involved.
The companies’ moves also come as tech platforms are facing heightened scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers for their platforms’ roles in fomenting the violence that took place in Washington last Wednesday. The pro-Trump protest that descended into a full-blown riot through both chambers of Congress was planned across social media platforms, and rioters live-streamed the events in real time.
After the attack, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that the company would block Trump indefinitely, at least until Biden is sworn in, writing that it believes “the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
Twitter has permanently banned Trump’s personal account on the platform in the aftermath of the Capitol rioting. And Google, Apple and Amazon have pulled Parler, the alternative social media site popular among conservatives and Trump supporters, from their products or app stores.