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Facebook hires Donald Trump official as general counsel

Facing scrutiny from governments around the world over how it manages users’ data, Facebook has hired senior US State Department official Jennifer Newstead as general counsel, overseeing the company’s global legal functions.

A President Donald Trump-appointed legal adviser, Newstead has advised the State Department on legal issues affecting US foreign policy since receiving Senate confirmation in December 2017.

Newstead succeeds Colin Stretch who would continue at Facebook to help with the transition, the company said in a statement on Monday.

“Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer.

Newstead currently oversees work on all domestic and international legal issues affecting the conduct of US foreign policy.

She has a global practice representing clients in cross-border regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters.

“I am looking forward to working with the team and outside experts and regulators on a range of legal issues as we seek to uphold our responsibilities and shared values,” said Newstead.

The regulators across the world are closely monitoring Facebook and its senior management’s role in mishandling users’ data, especially the Cambridge Analytics scandal involving 87 million users.

The US federal regulators are considering the possibility of holding its CEO Mark Zuckerberg accountable.

According to a report in The Washington Post, “the discussions about how to hold Zuckerberg accountable for Facebook’s data lapses have come in the context of wide-ranging talks between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Facebook”.

Facebook also named John Pinette as Vice President of Global Communications, succeeding Caryn Marooney.

“John’s deep understanding of the technology industry and his experience leading communications teams will be invaluable to helping us communicate the work we do at Facebook every day,” Sandberg added.




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