Clinton is largest beneficiary of Facebook donations

Clinton is largest beneficiary of Facebook donations
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Facebook employees as individuals have donated more than $114,000 to Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Democratic demolition derby Juan Williams: Don't count Biden out Candidates in Obama's orbit fail to capitalize on personal ties MORE this election cycle, by far the most of any presidential candidate. 

That is nearly $100,000 more than they donated to Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPeace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback Lawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela USDA takes heat as Democrats seek probe into trade aid MORE, who had the second-most donations from employees of the social media giant. The Republican brought in $16,604 from Facebook employees before dropping out of the race in March.

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The numbers are based on itemized contributions that candidates report to the Federal Election Commission. 

The tally only reflects itemized contributions, so it is not a perfect reflection of the number of Facebook employees who donated. Candidates are not required to give information about contributions less than $200. For example, Democratic hopeful Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE has raised more than $182 million, but only about $66 million of those donations include information about the people who donated. 

The Hill’s tally comes as Facebook battles accusations from some former contractors that the company suppressed conservative news on its “trending” feature that has prime placement on its many platforms. The company said it takes the charges seriously but “found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true.”

The Hill’s review found that about 78 employees who work on engineering, communications, public policy, strategy, marketing, human resources and other areas have donated to Clinton. 

That includes at least seven vice presidents at the company, including Tom Stocky, whose team is in charge of the trending feature. The company has about 13,600 employees.

“We are proud that, in 2015, the US election was the most talked-about subject on Facebook, and we want to encourage that robust political discussion from all sides,” Stocky wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday defending the trending feature.

The allegations in a Gizmodo story this week about Facebook curation were made by former contractors who worked for the company to help run the trending feature. 

There is nothing nefarious about political donations to a candidate. Presidential candidates in both parties have raised tens of millions of dollars from employees at major companies across every industry.

But Facebook has become an important place for voters to get news. And as it continues to be a major driver of news traffic, the political leanings of its management will likely come under greater scrutiny. 

“With 167 million US Facebook users reading stories highlighted in the trending section, Facebook has the power to greatly influence the presidential election,” the Republican National Committee wrote in a petition on Monday. 

The Hill’s review also found that Sanders recorded at least $12,000 in donations from Facebook employees. Before dropping out of the GOP race, Jeb Bush listed $3,225, Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Pelosi names first-ever House whistleblower ombudsman director The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE listed $3,150, John Kasich listed $2,700, and Ben Carson listed $250.

Niether presumptive Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE nor Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTed Cruz takes aim at Alabama vasectomy bill: 'Yikes' 'Medicare for All' will turn into health care for none Cruz 'impresses' his daughter with Chris Evans meeting MORE, who dropped out of the GOP race recently, listed any donations from Facebook employees in their filings. 

Combined, the company and its employees donated far more to Democrats than Republicans in the 2012 presidential cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That has carried over to 2016.

During the midterm election cycle for 2014, donations from Facebook were about even for both parties.