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Facebook will sponsor the Republican National Convention. Wait. Wut?

Facebook says its participation in both the RNC and DNC conventions allows users to remain engaged in the political process.


Remember when Mark Zuckerberg took the extraordinary step of using Facebook’s developer conference to indirectly criticize the immigration policies of Republican front-runner Donald Trump?

Yeah, well. Fuhgeddaboudit.

Facebook confirmed it will sponsor the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, where Trump is expected to emerge as the party’s presidential nominee.

The social network says its participation — which will include a lounge — should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any candidate, issue or political party. It plans to do the same at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

“This support allows Facebook to facilitate an open dialogue among voters, candidates and elected officials during the conventions, just as it has during other critical moments in the U.S. elections and in elections around the world,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president of public policy, said in a statement.

Egan argues that the social network’s presence at the conventions allows its users to stay engaged in the debate around the 2016 race for the White House — a topic that has dominated discussions on the platform.

But advocates like Heidi Hess of CREDO Action, a group that promotes progressive social change, criticized Facebook for announcing its support of the RNC convention in the week when Trump became the Republican party’s de facto presidential candidate.

“They’re really wrapping their arms around Trump,” said Hess. “We will certainly try to get them to reconsider their decision.”

CREDO Action is among a group of progressive and civil rights organizations pressuring major corporations, including Microsoft, to withhold support for the GOP’s nominating event, saying to do so is tantamount to endorsing what they describe as Trump’s “hateful” rhetoric.

Activists held a #DumpTrump protest outside Google last week, and today launched a Facebook ad campaign targeting some 10,000 Google employees and urging them to call on their Mountain View employer to pull the plug on a planned livestream.

The video ad features some of Trump’s most provocative stump speeches, describing Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists, calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and demeaning Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Google has maintained that its presence at the RNC and DNC conventions is no different from 2012, and provides access (via YouTube) to millions of people who can’t attend in person.

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