Facebook is planning to make Kevin Martin, former chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the interim head of U.S. policy. The former position holder, Erin Egan, will focus on her other duties as Chief Privacy Officer. This change in directors is a direct response to the increased political and regulatory scrutiny of Facebook after the company’s recent data breach. Martin previously served as the former Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission during George W. Bush’s administration between 2005 and 2009.
This shake-up of positions comes after the recent data scandal where millions of Facebook users’ data had been leaked to a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, which had a large presence in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. As a result, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was called upon by Congress to testify as to how Facebook allowed this to happen and what the company planned to do to prevent this from happening in the future.
Elliot Schrage, the vice president of communications and public policy for Facebook, released the following statement:
“We need to focus our best people on our most important priorities. We are committed to rebuilding people’s trust in how we handle their information, and Erin is the best person to partner with our product teams on that task.”
Aside from Kevin Martin’s new role, Facebook has also announced that it is dealing with new privacy regulations that will take effect in Europe in May. Regulators in countries like Ireland and Germany want to discuss privacy and safety precautions that will center around the recent breach of information. Also, according to Cnet, Erin Egan is “abdicating some of her duties on US policy to focus exclusively on privacy matters throughout the world, [and] she’ll be working with regulators around the globe, as well, as product teams at Facebook to ensure the company has better protections in place.”