ABC News' Michael Ono reports:
Facebook, which has come under fire from conservatives for being too partisan, today hired two new Republican lobbyists.
The Republican hires bring their Washington office into balance – two Republicans and two Democrats – but they nothing to do with the criticism, according to spokesman Andrew Noyes, who said the new staffers will work to educate members of Congress about privacy and other issues important to Facebook.
“It¹s imperative that we scale our policy team so that we have the resources in place to demonstrate to policymakers that we are industry leaders in privacy, data security and safety. To this end, we¹re announcing two additions to the Facebook DC office,” Noyes said in a statement.
The new Republican hires include Joel Kaplan, who will run the public policy office in Washington, and previously served as George W. Bush’s deputy chief of staff. Myriah Jordan served as General Counsel for Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C..
Facebook had come under fire from the conservative website Redstate.com for playing favorites. In a post last month, editors blasted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for hosting a townhall meeting broadcast on Facebook with President Barack Obama. The website began a a petition to compelling Facebook to give equal time to a Republican candidate.
“Given Facebook’s dominance of the internet, we believe Facebook has a duty to provide “equal time” to the eventual Republican candidate, just as the other private media companies that control the public airwaves are required to do,” said the Human Events and RedState.com Editors in their petition.
And while 26,886 people have signed the online petition not all readers of Redstate felt as if it was Facebook’s duty to play fair. Many commenter's on the Redstate were appalled by the petition citing a widely held Republican opposition to the fairness doctrine a law abolished in 1987, which guaranteed equal time on public airways.
The two Democratic lobbyists at Facebook are Timothy Sparapani from the ACLU and Adam Conner who came from Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s office.
The Republican hires by Facebook today had some Republicans praising the company. Former Bush speech writer David Frum responded to the announcement on Twitter.
“Joel Kaplan to head Facebook Washington office. They hire smart,” said Frum of his former White House colleague’s new employer.