As Facebook takes flack for wanting kids under 13 on Facebook (and then walks those remarks back), the world's largest social network is beefing up its lobbying might in Washington, DC. The new big-name hires will transform the tech giant's DC offices from what was a one-man operation as recently as 2007 to a team of 12 including four ex-White House aides on payroll, reports Politico. “It’s imperative to scale our policy team so that we have the resources in place to demonstrate to policymakers that we are industry leaders in privacy, data security and safety,” said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes. So who are these K Street power brokers and what will they be doing? Here's a look at the social network's top DC talent:
Joel Kaplan Joining Facebook in June as president of U.S. public policy, Kaplan is expected to "strengthen" Facebook's ties to "Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill," reports The New York Times. The company will benefit from his experience as President George W. Bush's deputy chief of staff. "Kaplan brings to Facebook years of experience and important connections in Washington: as a former aide to the president, and once the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget," reports Politico. "He arrives most recently from Energy Future Holdings, where he oversaw public policy and external affairs as its executive vice president." Leading Facebook's Washington operations, Kaplan will report to Marne Levine.
Marne Levine Hired last year as vice president of global public policy, Levine is the former chief of staff to the White House's National Economic Council. In her old job, she helped "coordinate the development of domestic and international economic policy for the president under director Lawrence Summers," reported The Washington Post. Currently she's in charge of the Facebook's "interaction with governments and non-governmental organizations around the globe" and has also been building Facebook's policy team in Asia.
Myriah Jordan Just hired as Facebook's policy manager on congressional relations, Jordan was a Bush aide with Kaplan and was also general counsel to Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. "Her resume includes time spent in the office of the chief of staff during the Bush administration, focusing on policy," reports Politico. "She also served as deputy general counsel for the office of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction."
Tim Sparapani An old-timer at DC's offices compared to the rest, Sparapani has been directing the DC office and managing outreach to congress, the company said in statement. According to Politico, Sparapani is "well known for his previous privacy work with the American Civil Liberties Union." In 2009, the Post noted that Sparapani "fought against racial profiling in airport security lines and pushed for stricter rules for how patient information should be used in electronic medical records." The paper calls him a "privacy hawk."
Adam Conner Facebook's first DC hire, Conner was described by The Washington Post as "Facebook's evangelist in Washington, a social-networking pro summoned by elected officials and bureaucrats alike to teach them, free of charge, how to leverage Facebook -- within strict government rules and security guidelines." When he's not working on basic troubleshooting he's seeking "inroads with security-conscious government agencies and uptight lawmakers -- some of whom are looking into limiting Facebook's running room on privacy issues." During his 2009 interview with the Post, the newspaper was surprised with how open he was about his political leanings. "Conner [does not] hold back on his partisan positions, a fact that does not seem to poison his relations with those on the right," reports the paper. "Last week, Conner posted a link to a Web site devoted to mocking Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, adding as preface: 'this one is legendary.'