The committee’s jurisdiction encompasses some of the most important issues that have brought Facebook into Congress, including privacy, alleged political bias, and the shield of liability known as Section 230.
A longtime telecommunications policy expert, Branscome will focus on executive involvement. As little as six months ago, NASA administrator and former Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) nominated Biden for a post at the FCC, an agency facing his own pressure to rein in the social media giants. was forcing it.
One Democrat who has worked closely with Branscome for years said the hiring was “a perfect hit by Facebook.” “You’re going to have a hard time finding anyone in this position who is more respected than John Branscome.”
Jeff Hauser, founder of the nonprofit Revolving Door Project, said Facebook’s move makes sense, noting that “threats to major tech are now greater from Democrats, especially with Democrats controlling the executive branch.” Still, Hauser said the “toxicity” around Facebook is putting a price on people in Washington who join the company’s ranks.
“I think you crossed a Rubicon when you went to Facebook,” Hauser said. “You’re getting ahead of some options for returning to public service.”
Attempts to reach Branscome for comment were unsuccessful.
Branscome is the senior advisor and the most senior Democrat employee of the Senate Commerce’s telecommunications subcommittee, and before that served as the chief advisor to the internet subcommittee. It will bring a major rolodex to the Facebook network in Washington – former colleagues on the committee have taken up jobs across the Biden administration, including the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Commerce Department.
The job change took many of his former colleagues by surprise, who exchanged baffled texts and emails throughout the day on Thursday.
Branscome has served on the Senate Commerce Committee since 2010, overseeing efforts to regulate and restrain the power of Facebook and other tech giants. CEOs of leading tech companies, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, testified before the committee last year.
Cantwell accused Facebook of contributing to the incident. destruction of local news sources and participated in years of negotiations around a potential federal privacy law. But he wished good luck to his deputy, who left on Thursday.
“I would like to thank John, the Communications Subcommittee and the Committee for their service over the past 11 years,” Cantwell said in a statement. Said. “Over 20 years of Federal service with the FCC and then supporting the President [Jay] Rockefeller, Ranking Member Nelson and I attest to his commitment to public service and his contributions to national communications policy. I wish him success in his future endeavours.”
Even while forging ties with Democrats, Facebook maintains close ties with Republicans, who could return to power in one or both houses next year.
GOP operator Joel Kaplan – who Democrats who went crazy three years ago With his public support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination – he remains at the head of Facebook’s policy storefront. Last year, Colorado Rep., one of the House’s most outspoken Republican advocates of tougher antitrust laws against big tech companies like Facebook. He hired a sidekick for Ken Buck.
John Hendel contributed to this report.