Technology

Reddit hires first lobbyists

The message board site Reddit has hired its first federal lobbyists, according to disclosure forms obtained this week.

The move comes while lawmakers are increasingly scrutinizing web platform use by political entities.

The disclosure filings show that Reddit hired the Franklin Square Group back in July to lobby on "Internet issues, including net neutrality and liability protections for online platforms."

The latter may be a reference to Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, a bill being pushed by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that would crack down on websites that help facilitate sex trafficking. Internet companies like Facebook and Google have been waging a stiff lobbying fight to push back on the bill out of concern that it could open them up to frivolous lawsuits.

Reddit may also be dragged into Congress' probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, which has also caught up Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said that he worries the site is vulnerable to Russian political influence campaigns.

Reddit did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

-Megan R. Wilson contributed.

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