Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Kara Visits Facebook's Washington, D.C., Office and Talks Policy!

Yesterday, BoomTown paid a visit to the Washington, D.C., office of Facebook to meet its reps in the nation’s capital.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the social networking site has a very small staff–just a trio of on-the-young-side dudes–battening down the hatches from a funky office in a funky section of D.C., Dupont Circle, far from the tonier and lobbyist-rich K Street corridor.

In contrast, both Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG) have a massive D.C. presence, trying to influence policy.

Still, as many in government know–such as Sarah Palin this week–Facebook has become a key tool in the basic bag of political tricks, used for organizing, canvassing, communicating and, every now and then, inspiring.

But there is also a raft of thorny legislative issues for Facebook, especially related to privacy, an arena where the company has repeatedly shot itself in the foot (Beacon! TOS!).

The company’s relatively new D.C. staff will presumably be a little smoother going forward.

They include:

Director of Public Policy Tim Sparapani, most recently with the American Civil Liberties Union, who joined in the spring.

Adam Conner, who opened Facebook’s D.C. office and who worked for some pols when he was still a college student, showing them how to use social media.

And, most recently, joining as manager of public policy communications, Andrew Noyes, a former reporter for the National Journal (and the man in 17D who pinged me on a Virgin America flight last week to meet him and the other Facebook policy wonks).

Here’s a video of the interview, in which we discuss all the big issues, from privacy to data retention to how Washington’s view of tech still has not evolved much:

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald