Facebook Inc. (FB) is counting on influential lobbyists to help it overcome a privacy scandal that risks undermining its entire business model.
On its website, the social network has posted 14 policy-related job openings in Washington. According to the listings, Facebook is keen to hire privacy and public policy managers, a government outreach manager and an associate general counsel for global trade compliance - sanctions.
The advertised positions include a Washington-based public policy role “to work with both the legislative branch and third-party groups as a clear line of communication, helping to advocate on behalf of the company’s mission and goals” and a politics and government manager to “work with candidates, elected officials, and others in the US political system to use our platform and civic engagement tools to connect in meaningful and innovative ways.”
Facebook’s drive to recruit people capable of influencing lawmakers follows allegations that Cambridge Analytica obtained data from up to 50 million of its users to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election. Concerns about how the social network collects and shares information about its users has led government officials to call on the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress later this month. (See also: Facebook Trusted by Less Than Half of All Americans: Survey.)
According to Bloomberg, these calls have grown louder after senior lawmakers were left dissatisfied by a series of briefings made by lower-ranked company executives. On Monday, Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley sent an invitation asking Zuckerberg to answer questions at an April 10 hearing. The company has yet to respond to the request. (See also: Key Takeaways From Zuckerberg's Media Blitz.)
Facebook previously hired three lobbyists before testifying on its role in helping Russia to influence the 2016 U.S. election. According to Bloomberg, the company spent $11.5 million on lobbying in 2017 and currently employs about 40 internal and external policy managers. (See also: Big Tech Spent Record Amounts on Lobbying Under Trump)
The social network’s tech rivals, Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) Google and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), spend even more. Last year, Alphabet spent $18 million on lobbying, making it the top tech corporate lobbying spender in the country.