Big Tech pauses political spending after Capitol riot

Technology

Facebook, Microsoft, AT&T, and Google have all announced that they would pause some political contributions after last week’s deadly attack on the US Capitol, as first reported by Axios.

“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 Daniel Roberts told The Verge in a statement Monday.

Facebook’s political spending freeze will last at least through the first quarter of 2021. This freeze only affects PAC contributions, not all of Facebook’s political spending.

“We have frozen all NetPAC political contributions while we review and reassess its policies following last week’s deeply troubling events,” José Castañeda said in a statement to The Verge Monday.

Microsoft is also halting its political spending “until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events.” A Microsoft spokesperson continued, “The PAC regularly pauses its donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it will take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees.”

AT&T said in a statement Monday that it would “suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes last week.”

The tech companies are joining a group of other private companies halting political contributions, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. Microsoft is also halting its political spending “until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events,” according to Axios. In a Monday blog post, Airbnb said that its PAC would “withhold support from those who voted against the certification of the presidential election results.”

The political spending freezes follow last Wednesday’s deadly pro-Trump riot at the Capitol. Days after, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter banned high-profile QAnon accounts belonging to individuals like Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell. Over the weekend, both Facebook and Twitter permanently banned President Donald Trump for violating their rules and encouraging further violence.