Facebook’s conservative tilt

By Laurie Bennett

July 15, 2013 at 6:14am

Mark Zuckerberg’s nascent political life is giving rise to speculation that he leans more right than left.

He did, after all, host a fundraiser for Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. And, the lobbying group he co-founded with other tech entrepreneurs, has supported a Republican group that backs drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

An examination of the political ties of other high-level folks at Facebook suggests that Zuckerberg is hardly alone.

Facebook VP Joel Kaplan is on the board of the aforementioned Republican group, called Americans for a Conservative Direction.

Ted Ullyot, who recently stepped down as Facebook VP and general counsel after five years in the job, is a director of the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco think tank that advocates for a free market.

Ullyot’s conservative creds are impressive. He was a deputy assistant to George W. Bush, chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

And then there’s Facebook board member Peter Thiel, a billionaire who invested early in Zuckerberg’s startup.

Thiel is a former overseer of the Hoover Institution and a contributor to the conservative Club for Growth and Endorse Liberty, the super PAC that worked for Ron Paul’s election as president in 2012.

Another Facebook board member, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, was a big donor to the major super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.

Of course, Facebook isn’t all Republican, all the time. Director Erskine Bowles was chief of staff to Bill Clinton. VP Marne L. Levine was chief of staff to Obama’s National Economic Council.

Yet the most prominent Facebook Democrats tend to be people who have left the company.

Former chief privacy officer Chris Kelly quit in 2010 to run for California attorney general. Co-founder Chris Hughes now publishes The New Republic.

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