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Facebook Businesses EU Government The Almighty Buck Politics

How Facebook Praises and Pressures a Country's Leader To Get Exactly What It Wants (qz.com) 24

The Irish Independent has published correspondence between Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Irish prime minister Enda Kenny, obtained through a freedom of information law request. Facebook's European headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland. The document reveals that Sheryl Sandberg lobbied Irish Prime Minister to influence Ireland's choice of official who would regulate them. From a report: The documents provides a rare window into how one of the world's most powerful technology companies conducts its business. In one email, after a meeting between Sandberg and Kenny at the annual World Economic Forum conference in Davos in early 2014, the Facebook executive praises the Irish politician's position on a set of sweeping, new, Europe-wide data privacy laws. "You and your staff really internalized our concerns," she writes. "And were able to present them in a reasonable way, which has had a positive impact." After that compliment, Sandberg turns to the matter of global tax law reform at the OECD, which Kenny was also involved in. Here, she raises the prospect of Facebook shifting its investment strategy in Europe. After noting that the tax discussions would be "very complicated," Sandberg wrote: "We hope to be helpful to you identifying the implications with different options for future investment and growth in Europe." That suggestion came as Facebook was in the process of expanding its Dublin office and headcount.
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How Facebook Praises and Pressures a Country's Leader To Get Exactly What It Wants

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  • Haha (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You killed Kenny!

    You bastards!

  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @04:28PM (#54513831) Homepage

    Wow. They wanted favorable policies, and said they might set up shop elsewhere if they didn't get favorable government policies. In the end, "Facebook appears to have won some concessions."

    Holy shit, mind blown!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When wealthy Russian businessmen use their wealth and power to try to influence a government to adopt conservative policies, there's a partisan witch hunt and people act like it's incredibly scandalous. However, when Facebook uses their greater wealth and power to try to influence governments, it's tolerated. Facebook, of course, tends to support their own business interests and liberal positions. Why is it scandalous when conservative Russians try to influence governments but tolerated when a leftist Ameri

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      When corporate ass holes use their power to influence the public as extortion to force obedience from politicians to inflate the power and profits of those corporations they are neither left nor right, progressives nor conservatives, they a greedy psychopaths who give not one fuck about anything except their own greed and lusts, they are fucking arse holes and all of them should be investigated and prosecuted for their intent, extortion with intent to harm society to benefit themselves. Don't give a fuck wh

  • by ebonum ( 830686 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @04:53PM (#54513989)

    if ( not US ) then evil

  • An Taoiseach (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tomahawk ( 1343 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @04:57PM (#54514015) Homepage

    Enda Kenny is An Taoiseach (pronounced very similarly to "On Tee-Shock"). That's his official title, and not Prime Minister, which is the official title in the UK.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik... [wikipedia.org]

    Even the original article uses his actual title.

    • Well, yeah, but that's really just Irish for PM. Not literally, but the role is that of a PM. Given how few people speak Irish, I don't see a problem.
  • like "Don't be Evil" to violate with its behavior.

    • Yes, that's true. The thing that bothers me when Google does something evil is just the hypocrisy. I'm fine with the actual evil act.</sarcasm>

    • Since when is trying to influence a politician evil? Sure, you can try and influence them to do something evil, but encouraging a favorable regulatory landscape isn't that.

      This is something that professors teaching MBA classes might find interesting enough to use in the classroom, but it's nothing new or unusual. If anything, it's old and usual.

      • That's a good point. What are the limits of ethical lobbying? I think there should be a clear limit when it comes to influencing the selection of your regulator.

        • I'd say the limits are little different than ethical limits in general. I don't see a problem with weighing in on who should be regulating your business, having input on government decisions that directly affect you is essential to democracy.

          If facebook was offering bribes, that would be a different matter entirely.

  • ...exactly nobody was surprised. Multi-billion dollar tech company screws with politics for profit. This isn't news, it's par for the course.

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