Facebook asks conservatives for help amid scrutiny over data practices: report

Facebook asks conservatives for help amid scrutiny over data practices: report
© Greg Nash

Facebook reportedly reached out to conservative groups last week to appeal for help as CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Civil rights groups demand changes to Facebook's political speech policy Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day MORE was preparing to testify before Congress over its data practices. 

A Facebook public policy manager, Lori Moylan, emailed conservative groups an invitation for a sit-down with the company to discuss policy, according to emails obtained by Politico.   

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"I know it's not lost on anyone in the free market community that with GDPR on the way in Europe and the rapidly changing discussions here in Washington, there's an increased chance Washington will rush to regulate, with privacy concerns at the top of the radar,” her email read, according to Politico.

"It would be incredibly helpful for our privacy team to hear from you — we'd love to talk through any ideas/advice you have and run our thinking by you as well,” she continued.

The company’s outreach to conservative groups came last week as Zuckerberg was prepping for heated congressional testimony in front of House and Senate panels.

The company is also dealing with pressure from Europe over new GDPR regulations which will force the company to change some of its data and privacy practices, as well as scrutiny from British lawmakers who want Zuckerberg to testify regarding how consulting firm Cambridge Analytica improperly harvested data from 87 million Facebook users.

Facebook’s outreach to the right comes at a time when it is fielding criticism from across the political spectrum.

Democrats are frustrated with Facebook’s data collection and privacy practices as well as how Russian trolls manipulated its platform in an attempt to influence U.S. politics during the elections.

Some Republicans share these concerns, while others, like Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran Cruz, Graham and Cheney call on Trump to end all nuclear waivers for Iran Pompeo: US ending sanctions waiver for site where Iran resumed uranium enrichment MORE (R-Texas), are more frustrated with what they believe to be a pattern of anti-conservative bias by Facebook and other technology companies.