Already Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg and General Counsel Ted Ullyot have had distinguished Washington careers and the company is reportedly trying to hire former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
This is important for Facebook’s future, because Facebook is so visible, and tends to cross lines when it comes to privacy, which then gets politicians’ attention. As the company grows in stature, it’s only going to be looked at more closely by Washington.
But, the Times points out, Facebook has an edge where Microsoft and Google, who have both faced political scrutiny on their way to becoming tech titans, don’t: politicians use Facebook for their campaigns every day. An analyst says that once Facebook becomes central to online campaigning, politicians don’t touch it.
That seems a bit naive to us — what’s Facebook going to do? Threaten to shut down a politician’s Facebook page if he holds a hearing? Then what? — but it’s certainly a way to make a favourable first impression and get meetings, if nothing else.
A story worth keeping an eye on, in any case.
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