The Wall Street Journal has unearthed more details about the Silicon Valley political advocacy group first reported by The San Francisco Chronicle.
Mark Zuckerberg–fresh off his fundraiser for Republican governor Chris Christie!–is working on launching the group, along with his close friend Joe Green, a former Harvard University roommate. Mr. Green was previously involved with NationBuilder.com and Causes.com and is now an entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz. (As we noted last fall, founder Marc Andreessen himself contributed exclusively to a number of Republican campaigns, after previously supporting Clinton-Gore.)
But the tech and Republican connections don’t stop there.
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In what looks like the logical extension of its recent lobbying efforts in Washington, Facebook is ramping up its PR staff in both New York and California. Influencing politicians? Check! Influencing the media? Give us a minute.
Like its “dream lobbying team” in DC, Facebooks’s new PR hires have a strong background in politics. Sarah Feinberg, a former assistant to President Obama, joined its communications team in Palo Alto where her new boss is none other than Clinton-era White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart. But it looks like Facebook is also looking at the media itself as a potential PR talent pool–Mr. Lockhart worked for NBC in Washington. And Facebook’s newest hire is Jennifer Yuille, who will be based in New York–a former producer for MSNBC and CNN. She left her gig as a producer for Katie Couric at the CBS Evening News last year to join Silicon Valley start-up Polyvore.
All Facebook says, “As the company continues to grow and it faces the usual pressures from competitors, regulators, politicians, and the like, Facebook will need professionals schooled in crisis communications and rapid response to react to a 24/7 news cycle.” But we think there might be another motivating factor.