Facebook Plays Role In PR War Over ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate

By Jennifer Moire 

As the rhetoric around the “fiscal cliff” talks heat up in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama and the Republican leadership in Congress are squaring off on Facebook to to tell their sides of the story. It’s not unlike the summer of 2011, when congressional leaders used Facebook and other social media channels to rally support for their sides during negotiations to raise the debt ceiling — and we know how well those talks went.

The fiscal cliff talks have hit a standstill after the president’s initial offer was roundly rejected by Republicans on Capitol Hill this week. And we all know what deadlock means: Let the Facebook wars commence!

Here’s a recap of how each side is using Facebook to gain an edge:

On Wednesday, the administration introduced Twitter hashtag #My2k into the fiscal cliff debate. The message was promptly turned into a Facebook post on the president’s page and reiterated in subsequent posts. The first message, which asks, “Tell us what $2,000 means to you and your family,” is liked 42,366 times.

The official Facebook page for the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, shared two messages that same day, showing the leader meeting with the chair of the Simpson Bowles committee and sharing a video clip of his press conference.  On his personal office page, he asked where the spending cuts are — a message that is liked more than 8,000 times.

The president made it personal by highlighting middle-class American families on Facebook and taking his message on the road to a small business in Pennsylvania Friday.

The speaker posted three times so far Friday on Facebook, directly rebutting the president’s Pennsylvania address through a press conference posted on his wall.

Other congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle also got in on the Facebook debate. Leader Nancy Pelosi posted Friday about the Democrats’ strategy to use a discharge petition to force a vote earlier in the day. Even the minority leader in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, participated in the debate on Facebook, although less frequently than his House counterpart.

Readers: Will you use Facebook to follow the fiscal cliff negotiations?