Facebook co-founder Sean Parker -- you know, Justin Timberlake’s character -- is preparing to launch a new social network for politics called Brigade, which will incorporate Causes, a popular Facebook app, as well as Votizen, a political advocacy startup.
According to various press reports citing Parker, Brigade will be kind of like LinkedIn for civic life, enabling users to communicate with their elected representatives and each other around political issues. It is supposed to be entirely non-partisan.
Parker’s Brigade Media announced the acquisition of Philotic Inc., which owns both Causes and Votizen, earlier this week; Philotic had acquired Votizen in 2013. Eventually the Causes brand will be retired but a number of key executives are joining Brigade, including Causes CEO Matt Mahan, who will now serve as CEO of Brigade, and Causes vice president of revenue James Windon, who will become president of Causes.
Brigade also announced that it has raised $9.5 million in funding from Ron Conway and Marc Benioff, two well-known Silicon Valley investors, as well as Parker himself.
Politico quoted Parker: “We have a huge number of products like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat, all the way down the line, that help us manage our social lives. Then you have something like LinkedIn, which is kind of a leader in business and professional networking. There’s absolutely nothing that helps us understand sort of the third leg in this tripod: how we should be voting, how our friends our voting, how we should engage in the political process.”
Parker also indicated that Brigade will try to raise interest in local politics in particular, where small numbers of people can have a much bigger impact.
Former Facebook execs seem to have a shared proclivity for dabbling in politics, one way or another. Back in May 2012 another Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes, bought The New Republic, a venerable purveyor of left-leaning journalism and opinion. Currently Hughes’ husband, Sean Eldridge, is running for Congress on the Democratic ticket in New York’s 19th congressional district, a constituency in the Hudson Valley region centered on the Catskills.