Did Facebook Play Favorites with Obama?

Tech President:

The fact that Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, is working on the Obama campaign might have something to do with it. In writing up platform’s launch, Chris Wilson of USNews.com talked to Hughes last week and wrote that “the Illinois senator had a major advantage on this front in the form of staffer Chris Hughes, a cofounder of Facebook who still serves as a consultant for the site.” And Amy Schatz, in her recent profile of Hughes for the Wall Street Journal, listed the Obama Facebook application as an example of the work Hughes and other Obama staffers are doing.

The Obama campaign demurs when asked about when Facebook gave it access to their API. “We are fortunate to have Chris and the incredible skill set he brings to the campaign on our team,” it said in a statement. “The Obama campaign produced the tools ourselves, followed the guidelines set out by Facebook and look forward to welcoming more friends to our network.”

Although Facebook has supported profiles for most of the candidates, apparently it intends to step much more directly into the political arena. According to a email memo sent out to the campaigns after Platform was launched, it is encouraging all campaigns to develop applications for Platform, and is currently building “US Politics” and “Canadian Politics” applications that will house all politicians’ profiles that will enable users to get updates from the candidates and allow them to advertise a candidate on their profile (Newsvine just launched it’s own application on Platform that can do just that). It will be adding more political features throughout the summer.