Facebook hires away top Dem from Senate panel probing Big Tech
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Facebook has hired a highly influential Democratic aide away from a Senate committee that has set its sights on reigning in Big Tech, as the company aims to fend off threats from Congress and the Biden administration.
The company confirmed to FOX Business that John Branscome, staff director and former chief counsel for the Senate Commerce subcommittee on technology, will be joining the ranks of its federal policy team.
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One Democrat told Politico, which first reported the news, that the hire "was a stroke of brilliance by Facebook," adding, "You’d be hard-pressed to get somebody more respected than John Branscome in that position."
The move comes as lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have vowed to impose more stringent regulations on social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, with Republicans arguing that big tech is actively censoring conservatives while Democrats say the companies should be forced to do more to stamp out "misinformation" on their sites. With Democrats currently controlling both chambers of Congress along with the presidency, Branscome's hire could help fend off not only threats from Democratic lawmakers but the Biden administration's regulatory agencies.
The Federal Trade Commission is currently suing Facebook and seeking to break up the company, claiming the firm has violated antitrust laws and alleging that it holds an oversized shared of the social media market between its main network and ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp.
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According to the agency's latest complaint filed this week, "Facebook’s course of conduct has eliminated nascent rivals and extinguished the possibility that such rivals’ independent existence might allow other internet platforms to overcome the substantial barriers to entry that protect Facebook’s monopoly position."
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