Two Major Tech Leaders Quit Mark Zuckerberg’s Political Group Over Ads Supporting Keystone XL

Mark Zuckerberg

(Credit: Guillaume Paumier)

Two major tech leaders have resigned from Mark Zuckerberg’s new political group,, in protest of the organization’s controversial decision to bankroll ads supporting Keystone XL and drilling in the Arctic National Refuge.

The Zuckerberg group publicly says its top priority is immigration reform. But through two subsidiary organizations it has quietly spent millions on ads advocating a host of anti-environmental causes. The ads were created in support of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mark Begich (D-AK), and although neither ad mentions the issue, both support immigration reform.

The strategy has alienated Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and David Sacks, the founder of Yammer. Both Musk and Sacks were listed as “major contributors” on an archived version of the website. Neither are listed on the site today.

AllThingsD, which broke the story, talked to Musk:

“I agreed to support FWD, because there is a genuine need to reform immigration. However, this should not be done at the expense of other important causes,” Elon Musk said in a statement to AllThingsD. “I have spent a lot of time fighting far larger lobbying organizations in DC and believe that the right way to win on a cause is to argue the merits of that cause.”

Om Malik, founder of the influential tech site GigaOm, is now calling on other members of to follow Musk’s lead:

This week, a coalition of liberal groups announced they would suspend advertising on Facebook, in protest of the ads supporting Keystone XL. Earlier, Facebook rejected an ad by the activist group CREDO highlighting the controversy.