December 14, 2018

Facebook Fallout Ruptures Democrats’ Longtime Alliance With Silicon Valley

“These companies are going to have to recognize that they have to change,” Mr. Benioff added. “And the C.E.O.s have to change. And if they don’t change, those C.E.O.s will be removed by boards and by shareholders.”

No Democrat embodies the tensions between tech and Washington like Mr. Schumer himself. In 2011, he joined Ms. Sandberg to announce the opening of the company’s first East Coast engineering office, in New York City, where he had worked to promote start-ups and other tech businesses.

In 2015, Ms. Sandberg co-hosted a fund-raiser for Mr. Schumer in her Bay Area home, according to a Facebook employee briefed on the event. (The same trip featured a Schumer fund-raiser held by Bruce Sewell, then Apple’s general counsel, and attended by Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, according to an executive who declined to be named.).

By the end of the 2016 cycle, Mr. Schumer had raised more money from Facebook employees than any other Washington lawmaker. All told, Senate Democrats have benefited from over $3 million in political contributions from Facebook’s employees and founders over the years.

The technology industry — and Facebook in particular — was also a partner to Democrats in policy battles. Mr. Zuckerberg founded a Washington advocacy group to press for immigration reform, a top priority for Mr. Schumer and other Democratic leaders. More recently, tech companies like Netflix allied with Democrats in the fight over net neutrality rules.

Relations began to cool after the 2016 elections, when evidence mounted that Facebook and YouTube had become fertile ground for foreign interference and domestic misinformation, threatening not only the party’s values but also its electoral prospects.

Early last year, Senator Jon Tester, the Montana Democrat, walked over to the Capitol to deliver a warning to Mr. Schumer, newly elected as Democratic minority leader.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/17/technology/facebook-democrats-congress.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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