Climate

Facebook To Join Google In Cutting Ties With ALEC

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Facebook is likely cutting ties with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a decision that would follow the lead of Google, which announced its intention to break with ALEC this week.

Facebook confirmed plans of the split to the Guardian after the news was first reported in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“We reevaluate our memberships on an annual basis, and are in that process now. While we have tried to work within ALEC to bring that organization closer to our view on some key issues, it seems unlikely that we will make sufficient progress so we are not likely to renew our membership in 2015,” the social media giant said in a statement.

The news comes a day after Google announced on Monday that the company’s decision to fund ALEC — a group which, among other things, works to undermine renewable energy progress in states and is known for its climate denial — was a “mistake” and that the company would be cutting ties with ALEC at the end of the year.

“Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,” Google chairman Eric Schmidt said on NPR’s Diane Rehm show. “And so we should not be aligned with such people — they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”

Google’s involvement with ALEC seemed to contradict its commitment to renewable energy: the company is aiming to power its offices with 100 percent renewable energy, and has pledged to invest $1.5 billion in renewable energy investments. ALEC, with donors that include billionaires Charles and David Koch, works by publishing model legislation on a range of policies, including mock bills to repeal or weaken states’ renewable energy standards and bills to promote the teaching of climate skepticism in schools.

Though Google and Facebook are the most recent — and among the most well-known — companies to cut ties with ALEC, they aren’t the first. Microsoft stopped providing funds to ALEC last month, and before Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Walmart, and Kraft decided to end their ALEC memberships. The majority of these companies left after teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in 2012 and the public learned that ALEC supported controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws.

With Facebook’s recent announcement, the number of corporations that have cut ties with ALEC has risen to at least 87. As the Guardian notes, Facebook and Google’s high-profile departure from ALEC will likely put pressure on corporations still sending funds to the conservative group, such as Yahoo and eBay.

UPDATE

Yelp has also confirmed to Common Cause Wednesday that it cut ties with ALEC “a few months back.”

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