Facebook is reportedly helping to launch of a new political advocacy group that aims to sell Washington lawmakers and regulators on Silicon Valley innovation. The group, dubbed American Edge, will combat attempts to rein in the tech industry, according to a report Tuesday from The Washington Post. The group will also reportedly position the tech industry as essential to the economy and the future of free speech.
Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but confirmed to the Post that it's working with the group.
"We're working with a diverse group of stakeholders to help build support for our industry, and while we're leading an effort to start this coalition, it's one of many we are contributing to and supporting," Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told the Post, adding that the US "leads the world in technology and we should be proud of that fact and promote it."
Social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google are facing calls for increased government oversight after high-profile scandals involving hate speech, election meddling, leaks of customer data and other problems. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously said he welcomes regulation and last year floated the idea of forming industrywide groups to establish guidelines and ensure that companies meet them.
American Edge reportedly formed as a nonprofit in December and registered an accompanying foundation last month. The group plans to fund ad campaigns and academic studies that promote the tech industry, according to the Post. It's also expected to argue that "strong restrictions imposed on tech giants could hurt US firms and ultimately serve to aid their competitors, particularly in China," said the Post.