Politics & Government

Facebook works to make friends at California's Capitol

Facebook has emerged as a political player in California's Capitol — and not just because lawmakers are using the site to make "friends."

The Palo Alto-based company that revolutionized online communication has quietly begun shaping public policy in California. Facebook scored a major victory last month, when it persuaded legislators to shoot down a bill that would have made more user information private on social networking websites.

The fight over Senate Bill 242 revealed that Facebook had arrived on the state's political playing field – and is just the tip of a growing iceberg.

In the last year, Facebook has spent more than $102,000 on lobbying in California and made its first contributions to political campaigns in the state. It has taken lawmakers out for lunch in Sacramento, hosted them at its Bay Area headquarters and lobbied on bills concerning Internet privacy, commuter benefits and use of social media by registered sex offenders.

"We're excited about having a presence in Sacramento," said Corey Owens, Facebook's associate manager for public policy. "It's still fairly new for us, but California is our home and we want to be supportive and responsive to legislators who are interested in our issues."

Facebook is joining a list of other major communication and technology companies that are politically active.

Read the full story at SacBee.com