Facebook is reportedly going on a hiring spree in the Swamp as its CEO Mark Zuckerberg gets ready to testify before Congress.
According to Bloomberg, Facebook, which reportedly started hiring new lobbyists last fall after it was accused of helping Russians spread “fake news,” is reportedly looking to hire “at least 11 people for policy-related positions in Washington” as the company has come under fire for allowing its user data to be exploited and breached.
This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed that it is investigating Facebook, and prominent Senators like Mark Warner (D-VA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Judiciary Committee Chairman, called on Zuckerberg to testify before Congress.
According to a CNN report, Zuckerberg has reportedly “come to terms with the fact that he will have to testify before Congress within a matter of weeks, and Facebook is currently planning the strategy for his testimony.”
Bloomberg notes that Facebook is third behind Amazon and Google in lobbying spending in D.C. The company reportedly spent $11.5 million on lobbying in 2017.
Facebook made a splash in Washington during the 2014 amnesty battle when it scooped up operatives from the permanent political class on both sides of the aisle to help one of its political arms, FWD.us, lobby for amnesty and high-tech visas. Now, Facebook is reportedly looking to more aggressively defend its interests by adding “privacy and public policy managers, a government outreach manager, associate general counsel positions, and a couple of policy managers to help draft positions on tech and video policy issues,” according to Bloomberg.
Zuckerberg revealed last week that he expects the company to be regulated in some way, telling CNN, “there is transparency regulation that I would love to see.” But in an interview with Wired, he mentioned food safety regulation that allows for “a certain amount of dust that can get into the chicken as it’s going through the processing” to argue that Facebook cannot be expected to “solve every single issue” related to data privacy and “hate speech.”