DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
show image

Oscar Williams

News editor

Exclusive: Facebook is beefing up its UK lobbying team

Facebook is beefing up its lobbying team in London as it reels from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The social media giant is in the process of hiring six policy managers to work out of its London office and cover the EMEA region.

Successful candidates will be tasked with building relationships with politicians and “working with political bodies, policymakers and non-governmental organisations on technology policy issues”, according to the job descriptions.

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic called for stricter regulation of online advertising this week after it emerged that a researcher working for Cambridge Analytica had harvested tens of millions of Facebook users’ data without their consent.

The firm went on to work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. It says it deleted the data as soon as it became aware it had been improperly obtained and that it was not used during the Trump campaign.

In an interview with CNN last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conceded that Facebook and other social media sites should be regulated: “On the basic side, there are things like ads transparency regulation that I would love to see. If you look at how much regulation there is around advertising in TV and print, it’s just not clear why there should be less on the internet.”

However, the details of the regulation are still up for debate and Facebook will be keen to ensure that any new rules do not damage its business model.

Earlier this week, Zuckerberg declined an invite from MP Damian Collins to appear before the parliamentary inquiry into fake news. Instead, Facebook plans to send its chief product or technology officer. Zuckerberg has, however, vowed to appear before Congress in the US.

The hiring spree in the UK appears to reflect a similar initiative in the US, where Facebook is currently listing 12 job openings for policy managers in Washington.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal might have dominated headlines over the last fortnight, but it is not the only challenge Facebook is facing in the world of politics. The firm is also under scrutiny for the role it played in promoting Russian disinformation in the 2016 US election, while data protection regulators across Europe are keeping a close eye on its handling of WhatsApp data.

Facebook has not yet responded to this story. We will update it if it does.