Democrats turn down top lobbying roles at Facebook as scandals pile up

Democrats turn down top lobbying roles at Facebook as scandals pile up
·3 min read

Facebook is reportedly struggling to hire Democrats for its lobbying shop in Washington despite paying top dollar, a potential sign that the social media behemoth is now deemed radioactive by many on the Left.

President Joe Biden's administration and Democrats in Congress have threatened to go after Facebook with aggressive regulations, lawsuits, and investigations, and that appears to be making it an unattractive employer for top talent. Making matters worse, some senior Democratic lobbyists have left the company recently, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“It’s the same reason Democrats don’t work for the NRA: You still have to look yourself in the mirror,” Pat Williams, a Democratic lobbyist who used to run AT&T's lobbying team, told the paper.

Facebook has tried since January to hire a well-known Democrat to head up its U.S. lobbying team, an executive perch that would pay more than $2.5 million a year in salary, stock, and bonuses, according to the Journal. The company is also attempting to hire ex-government officials from both sides of the aisle for more than a dozen top postings within their lobbying, public policy, and legal departments.

Democrats who have rebuffed offers from Facebook include a senior adviser to Biden, aides to former President Barack Obama, including top adviser Valerie Jarrett, and multiple senior Democratic aides in Congress, the Journal reported.

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The absence of Democrats at Facebook has resulted in Republicans running Facebook's lobbying shop in Washington, led by the head of public policy, Joel Kaplan, a former top aide to President George W. Bush.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not known to have close ties with top Democrats, while his chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, hasn't been engaged in politics in Washington for many years after serving in the Clinton administration as a Democratic aide in the 1990s, the Journal reported.

Facebook has in recent months been inundated with critical coverage of its products and services after a number of news outlets gained access to internal company documents. Those papers paint the portrait of a company that ignores serious societal problems it has created or made worse.

Most of these revelations have come thanks to internal documents obtained by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who has been behind a recent series of revelations about Facebook's effects on teenage girls' mental health, its use by drug cartels and human traffickers, and its special rules for VIPs.

Some Democrats who have been working at Facebook have left in recent months. Crystal Patterson, who was with the lobbying team for seven years in Washington, recently left the company after growing frustrated with Facebook's lack of initiative and planning to build ties to Democrats, the Journal reported.

“I thought to myself, ‘Am I taking the worst job in Washington?’” Patterson said.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said that the company's job openings on its lobbying team haven't hurt its ability to work with the Biden administration and those on Capitol Hill. He told the Journal that it takes time to hire the right leader to head up its Washington lobbying team and that the company has not faced difficulties in finding and retaining Democrats.

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“What we need is a set of updated rules for the internet set by Congress that all companies should follow,” Stone told the Journal. “To help us get there, we hire people from across the political spectrum who understand these issues and can advocate for rules that reflect the realities of today’s internet.”

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Tags: News, Policy, Facebook, Lobbying, Mark Zuckerberg, Social Media, Democratic Party, Democrats

Original Author: Nihal Krishan

Original Location: Democrats turn down top lobbying roles at Facebook as scandals pile up

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