Facebook seeks a new head of U.S. public policy
Facebook is looking externally for a new U.S. policy chief as it moves Kevin Martin, a Republican who now holds the job, to a different position, per a memo seen by Axios.
Between the lines: Facebook is moving on from the Trump era in which Republicans held most of the power in Washington and Facebook was particularly eager among tech companies to forge warm relations with GOP policymakers.
What's happening: Kevin Martin, Facebook's head of U.S. public policy and a former FCC chairman, will now lead the firm's global economic policy team, Joel Kaplan, Facebook's Republican global head of public policy, told company employees in a note today.
- "For economic policy, the areas of strategic investment in 2021 will be in competition — where we need to continue to build a comprehensive global policy strategy — as well as in IP/media, commerce and financial services," Kaplan wrote.
- Kaplan's announcement was first flagged by Politico Playbook.
Context: Facebook’s Republican policy staffers have brought the company controversy on multiple occasions, including around Kaplan's support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the company's hiring of an opposition research firm amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
- Critics accused Facebook of kowtowing to Republican complaints about bias in its commitment to free speech on its platform. The company has recently taken a sharp turn on that stance.
- Facebook declined to comment.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that Politico Playbook, not the Washington Post's Lizza Dwoskin, was first to report the news.