Facebook Pokes the Government

The social networking site makes its first political donations

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Facebook is getting political.

    Capitol Hill just got a friend request.

    Social networking phenomenon Facebook is making moves to become a political player, donating thousands of dollars to fundraising groups that help elect government officials.

    The website gave more than $20,000 to political groups over the past year, divided equally between Democrats and Republicans, the Washington Times reported.

    Half of that money went to an organization that helps raise cash to elect Republican state attorney general candidates, while the other half went to the Democratic Attorneys General Association, according to the Times.

    Facebook has been working with attorneys general nationwide to keep pornographic content off the site, visited by millions of users daily.

    "We have been working collaboratively with state attorneys general on issues of online safety, security and privacy for years, and they're on the front lines for these issues," Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told the Times.

    "Thus, we thought it appropriate to make contributions to their organizations - equal amounts," to each party's group, he said.

    The donations were the first political contributions Facebook has made since it launched in 2004, according to Schnitt.

    Policians spent almost a million bucks on Facebook advertising last year, records show -- most from President Barack Obama's campaign.