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Facebook accused of 'secretly lobbying' for cyber bill

Cybersecurity Policy Player

Facebook is "secretly lobbying" for a major cyber bill set for a final Senate vote Tuesday despite growing opposition to the bill among tech companies, according to a digital rights advocacy group fighting against the measure.

Facebook has told “several offices on the Hill” that they support the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), stated a release from Fight for the Future, the advocacy group. The bill would encourage companies to share more data on hacking threats with the government.

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“Facebook lobbyists are working behind the scenes to get it passed,” the group said, without revealing its source for the information.

A Facebook representative denounced the reports, calling them inaccurate and clarifying, "We have not advocated publilcy or privately for CISA."

As a voluntary bill, CISA would not require Facebook to participate in the measure's info-sharing provisions, and the social media company has indicated it is unlikely to do so.

CISA has drawn the ire of privacy advocates and a growing number of tech companies, who argue the measure could incentivize companies to hand over large swaths of Americans’ private data to the government.

But many industry groups, a large bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and the White House believe CISA is a needed first step to help better understand and repel the overseas cyberattacks plaguing both government and the private sector.

In recent weeks, a number of prominent tech companies, such as Apple, reddit, Twitter, Yelp and Wikimedia have all come out against the bill. The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), an influential trade group representing Facebook, also expressed concerns about CISA.

Fight for the Future alleges that Facebook has privately split with these companies and is pressing the company to take a public stance.

“Facebook, are you backstabbing the Internet?” said a petition targeting the social media giant. “Come clean on CISA now.”

Famous government leaker Edward Snowden late Sunday drew attention to the petition, tweeting out a link and calling Facebook “shameful.”

— Updated 12:56 p.m.