Facebook hires the same lobby firm as Apple

It appears that Facebook and Apple will be sharing a lobbying team at the firm, since the same trio at Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock will be working separately on both accounts.

Mark Isakowtiz, Kirk Blalock, Kirsten Chadwick, have all registered to lobby for both Facebook and Apple, records shows. Blalock and Chadwick served in the George W. Bush Administration, and Isakowitz served on Bush’s transition team, among other positions.

CTIA - The Wireless Association, Sprint Nextel and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association are also current clients of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, giving the firm an A-list roster in the tech and telecom sectors.

The hiring moves by Facebook and Apple reflect a broader shift in the tech industry, which is eager to forge ties with the new GOP majority in the House as legislative fights take shape on issues like intellectual property, privacy and global trade. 

Facebook moved to boost its bipartisan credentials last week when it hired Catherine Martin to be director of public policy. Martin held positions in the George W. Bush administration and worked for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, when he was Texas attorney general.

The effort by Facebook to expand its lobbying presence in Washington comes as lawmakers debate new safeguards for online privacy, an issue that has been a source of controversy for the company in recent years.

A handful of online privacy bills have already been introduced in the new Congress, and lawmakers are demanding that Facebook provide more information about a recently shelved feature to let users share their personal information with third-party developers and applications.

Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), the co-chairmen of the House Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Feb. 2 asking the company to detail the information-sharing feature and how it would fit into the site’s existing safeguards and standards for privacy. Facebook was asked to respond to the letter by Feb. 23.