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Facebook privacy exec backs U.S. legislation

The thumbs up sign outside of Facebook headquartes
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Facebook executive Wednesday offered an endorsement of the broad idea of privacy legislation in the United States.

The big picture: Facebook has been focusing on convincing policymakers around the world that it takes concerns about its data collection and platform seriously.

  • Its head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, is briefing Capitol Hill staffers on Wednesday. He spent part of the morning at a breakfast with reporters.
  • Katie Harbath, global politics and government outreach director for the company, briefed members of the Federal Election Commission about the social giant's election protection efforts on Wednesday as well, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

What they're saying: Facebook's chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, said in her prepared remarks at a conference in Brussels that Facebook supports "strong and effective privacy legislation — in the U.S. and around the world."

  • A spokesperson for the company confirmed that Egan said, in response to a question, that Facebook would back a federal privacy law on the level of Europe's General Data Protection Regulation.
  • The internet industry has been trying to shape expected action on privacy regulations in Washington ahead of the next congressional session.
  • At the same event, Apple CEO Tim Cook decried the "data industrial complex" and called for strong privacy measures.

A Facebook spokesperson said its ongoing outreach in D.C. was part of a larger effort to work with officials at all levels of government ahead of the midterms.

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