Facebook invited a number of conservative think tanks and free market groups to a secretive meeting in Washington, D.C., where they were forced to sign strict legal agreements to prevent discussion of the event.
Facebook invited a number of conservative free market groups and D.C.-based thinktanks to a meeting regarding the company’s recent privacy scandals, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting. All of the groups invited were allegedly forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement if they wanted to attend the event. This NDA included a caveat that those invited weren’t even allowed to mention the existence of the NDA.
A source familiar with the matter told Breitbart News that they believe that the meeting mostly focused on what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in his testimony before Congress, the future of privacy on the Internet, and public policy surrounding tech companies such as Facebook. The source told Breitbart News that it seemed as if Facebook was attempting to bring the conservative and Free market communities onto their side ahead of possible debates in Washington relating to the regulation of Facebook.
The NDA that attendees were asked to sign allegedly seemed at first like a standard NDA contract, prohibiting the sharing of any information heard in the briefing, but the NDA also covered the existence of the NDA itself — meaning that attendees could not reveal that they had been asked to sign the non-disclosure agreement. One policy expert remarked to Breitbart’s source, “if it [the meeting] is about public policy — why would I be legally bound to secrecy?”
The full invitation from Facebook can be read below:
Good afternoon friends,
Before today’s hearing gets underway, I wanted to reach out to invite you to a discussion on privacy regulations and legislation on Wednesday, April 25 — here at our offices. I know it’s not lost on anyone in the free market community that with GDPR on the way in Europe and the rapidly changing discussions here in Washington, there’s an increased chance Washington will rush to regulate, with privacy concerns at the top of the radar.
You’ll hear a lot this afternoon about our company’s privacy practices, the privacy updates we’ve made over our history and the ones we’re planning, and our desire to be part of the conversation as privacy experts, lawmakers, and advocates work through complicated questions about best practices in our fast-moving industry. It would be incredibly helpful for our privacy team to hear from you – we’d love to talk through any ideas/advice you have and run our thinking by you as well.
If there are others from your organization who should attend, please let me know! As always, this conversation will be off the record. We’re located at [NOTE: Facebook’s office address was removed due to privacy concerns.] Please RSVP by COB April 24 so that we can get you into our building’s security system. For anyone remote wishing to attend, we can set up our video conference system.
And as the next 24 hours unfolds, if you have any questions about our testimony, the Cambridge Analytica situation, or any of the updates we’ve made in the last week, please reach out. Thanks to all of you who have already contacted me with questions, helpful ideas, and feedback. You can find Mark’s written testimony here.
Thanks very much for your engagement, and we hope to see you on the 25th!
Facebook Public Policy | External Affairs
When contacted for comment by Breitbrt News, Facebook did not dispute the event or invitation.