Face­book ex­ec­u­tive con­ducts pub­lic re­la­tions blitz in D.C.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATION - By Cecilia Kang

WASH­ING­TON >> For months, Face­book has been try­ing to counter crit­i­cism about its in­flu­ence on the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The com­pany has hired three cri­sis com­mu­ni­ca­tions firms and bought dig­i­tal and news­pa­per ads. Mark Zucker­berg, its chief ex­ec­u­tive, has posted live video to the so­cial net­work to ex­plain how much he cares about elec­tion in­tegrity.

This week, it sent Sh­eryl Sand­berg to Wash­ing­ton to charm Con­gress and the pub­lic.

Sand­berg, Face­book’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, acted as the giant tech com­pany’s chief am­bas­sador in the cap­i­tal Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day — shut­tling around to talk with dozens of law­mak­ers and mak­ing nu­mer­ous prom­ises about how the com­pany would change.

In a pub­lic ap­pear­ance hosted by Ax­ios, the news startup, she ad­mit­ted Face­book had made mis­takes dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. She of­fered law­mak­ers who are in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sia’s elec­tion med­dling more com­pany data. Face­book faces a va­ri­ety of con­cerns about fake news and its broader role in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. But the crit­i­cism has be­come far more in­tense in the past few months af­ter the com­pany re­vealed that Rus­sian-linked groups bought more than $100,000 in ads on Face­book to in­flu­ence the elec­tion. The com­plaints about Face­book have also helped pro­pel de­bate about the tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try more widely, and whether the big­gest tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies — like Face­book, Google and Ama­zon — have grown too large and pow­er­ful. Some law­mak­ers are talk­ing about po­ten­tial ways to reg­u­late the busi­nesses. With House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee lead­ers in­ves­ti­gat­ing the com­pany’s role in for­eign med­dling in the elec­tion, Sand­berg agreed to hand over a broader set of data linked to fake Rus­sian ac­counts and to pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion about how that data was tar­geted to users. With top Re­pub­li­can and Demo­cratic lead­ers of the House, she em­pha­sized the com­pany’s de­sire to help with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pro­moted its plan to hire thou­sands of peo­ple to re­view ad pur­chases so the mis­takes of the 2016 elec­tion are pre­vented from hap­pen­ing again.

“They are lean­ing in on this is­sue,” said Rep. K. Michael Con­away of Texas, the Re­pub­li­can lead­ing the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee’s probe, al­lud­ing to Sand­berg’s book.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.