It doesn’t take much to start an insta-campaign these days against someone or something thanks to social media. So when an editor emailed a link to a story about Netflix creating a new SuperPAC to support SOPA, I could see this would be a story that was going to prompt a strong backlash against a company that doesn’t really need another one at this point.
Sure enough, it appeared Anonymous seemed to be making some waves with an anti-Netflix campaign at: #OpBoycottNetflix .
So, I decided to look for the offending document, and found instead a generic registration for a Political Action Committee filed on April 5 that seemed pretty benign. No mention of taking any positions on SOPA or any other insues.
Then I emailed the company. Noting that the original report about the PAC came from the “Russian News Agency,” a Netflix spokesman said:
“PACs are commonplace for companies that lead a big, growing market and Netflix is no exception. Our PAC is a way for our employees to support candidates that understand our business and technology. It was not set up for the purpose of supporting SOPA or PIPA. Instead, Netflix has engaged on other issues including network neutrality, bandwidth caps, usage based billing and reforming the Video Privacy Protection Act.”
On the whole, Netflix has a fairly small presence in Washington. It just formally registered to lobby for the first time in late 2010. And in 2011, the company spent $500,000 lobbying Congress on topics such as: “Telecommunications issues, Internet non-discrimination; Internet privacy, Intellectual property issues; Internet competition issues; H.R. 2471, Video Privacy Protection Act,” according to Senate lobbying disclosure records.
Will any of this halt the campaign? Probably not. As I write, the tweets are still flying fast and furious.