- Facebook is hiring a bevy of new lawyers and policy experts with expertise in competition law.
- The job openings come as a cofounder of the social network calls for the company to be broken up under antitrust regulation.
- The company is facing increasing criticism over its size and power, and there are mounting suggestions that regulators should take action.
One of Facebook’s cofounders wants to see the company broken up. The social network won’t go down without a fight.
On Thursday, Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes made headlines by arguing in an op-ed for The New York Times that the California technology giant had grown too large and powerful, and needed to be reined in under antitrust law.
The company, unsurprisingly, takes a different view, with its global head of comms Nick Clegg saying in a statement that "you don’t enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company" and arguing alternate regulation should be explored instead.
A review of Facebook’s current open job listings shed light on how the company is actively preparing for antitrust action, and is hiring people proactively to build out its legal and policy teams and stave off the threat.
One key role the company is currently hiring for: A new competition counsel, to be based in Europe and tasked with "[representing] the company in connection with competition inquiries by regulators across the world."
It’s seeking someone with four to five years of experience of corporate antitrust enquiries, including "conducting investigations and merger reviews" — seemingly a veiled reference to the growing calls for Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp to be reversed — and knowledge of global competition law and language skills.
"Facebook seeks a highly motivated and experienced team player to serve as Competition Counsel to the company … Working with a talented and supportive team, this position will manage investigations and inquiries related to antitrust matters and help develop the company’s legal position and strategy on competition matters throughout the world," the job ad reads.
A new, global threat to Facebook
Facebook is also bulking out its competition law expertise on its policy teams around the world.
In the US, it is recruiting a Public Policy Manager to focus on competition based in Washington DC, who will "assist in the formulation and implementation of the company’s global competition public policy strategy." This includes monitoring relevant competition issues, preparing policy position briefing papers, advising teams, and representing Facebook in meetings.
Meanwhile, in Europe it is seeking a "Director, Economic and Competition Policy, EU Affairs," as well as a Public Policy Manager working on EMEA competition policy. For the former role, Facebook is actively hunting for people with experience in government, who will intimately understand the levers of power and can represent Facebook in meetings with government officials. For the latter, it is hunting for someone with "expertise" on Europe-specific competition issues.
And in India, Facebook is on the hunt a new Public Policy Manager, who will "lead on issues related to economic regulation development with focus on competition law and trade policies in the region." Other open roles, including public policy manager positions in Japan and Korea, and an associate general counsel for WhatsApp looking at global payments and regulation, also touch on the issue as part of a broader brief.
The job listings reflect a new reality for Facebook: After years of scandals, it is facing an increasingly hostile regulatory environment, forcing it to invest significantly in its lobbying and legal apparatus to defend itself.
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