Online lobbying tactics using Twitter and Facebook under the microscope

The Post discusses lobbyists’ and others’ use of Twitter and Facebook.

The influence peddlers of K Street have discovered the power of social networking on such Web sites as Twitter and Facebook. Using their own names without mentioning that they work in public relations or as lobbyists, employees of companies with interests in Washington are chattering online to shape opinions in hard-to-detect ways.

. . .

Tweets, blogs and comments on news sites can draw big audiences and popular support for a variety of causes, from tech policy to health care and energy regulation. But they provide a shade of gray in the lobbying world, where enormous influence is being exercised with few rules of engagement about spending and disclosure.

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It’s particularly effective because the aides and staffers involved in setting tech policy are also big social-media users. An FCC source said the agency pays attention to conversation on social Web sites, and aides on the Hill say they notice when Facebook friends post stories or write status updates about tech issues.

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