Several groups are boycotting Facebook because Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has founded an organization called (and located at) FWD.us, the purpose of which is to push for immigration reform. The groups calling for the boycott of Facebook are opposed to the immigration reform measures advocated by Zuckerberg’s group, chief among them being the issuing of more work visas for immigrants with high-tech skills.
In a piece by Zuckerberg published in the Washington Post (the Post’s Chairman sits on the board of Facebook – nice backscratching), Zuckerberg opined that “We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants. And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world.”
He then goes on to ponder “…why do we kick out the more than 40 percent of math and science graduate students who are not U.S. citizens after educating them? Why do we offer so few H-1B visas for talented specialists that the supply runs out within days of becoming available each year, even though we know each of these jobs will create two or three more American jobs in return? Why don’t we let entrepreneurs move here when they have what it takes to start companies that will create even more jobs?”
Zuckerberg is advocating for, among other things, “Comprehensive immigration reform that begins with effective border security, allows a path to citizenship and lets us attract the most talented and hardest-working people, no matter where they were born.”
The groups calling for the boycott of Facebook are upset that FWD.us is funding ads which support conservative lawmakers, often highlighting the lawmakers’ other positions, such as their positions on oil (pro) and Obamacare (against), instead of discussing the immigration matter head-on.
In particular, the boycotting groups take issue with FWD.us’ television advertisements in support of Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska, for their support of drilling, and the Keystone XL pipeline. Both Graham and Begich are considered likely to vote in favour of immigration reform.
The boycott is primarily taking the form of pulling and no longer purchasing or paying for ads on Facebook. So far the boycott has been joined by MoveON.org, the Sierra Club, the Daily Kos, 350.org, the League of Conservation Voters, CREDO, and Democracy for America, to name a few.
Said the League of Conservation Voter’s Jeff Gohringer, “We were actually going to launch a big new Facebook campaign that we pulled back on. At the end of the day though, it’s not about the money, it’s about sending Mark Zuckerberg a message.”
When CREDO tried to run an ad on Facebook that bashed FWD.us, the ad was rejected.
Opined former Senator Russ Feingold, who founded boycotter Progressives United, “Leaders in the technology community have every right to talk about how immigration reform will benefit their businesses. But instead, FWD.us has chosen a strategy that’s condescending to voters and counterproductive to the cause of reform.”