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Facebook has been facing a lot of scrutiny from different governments all around the world over how it manages customer’s data on its social media platform. It was also under the spotlight for enabling the spreading of misinformation across its network and faces increased pressure to stop the same. Facebook has a series of data breaches and scandals in its recent history. Starting from the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the massive 50M Facebook accounts that were compromised, to the recent data breach where it “unintentionally uploaded” 1.5 million email contacts without consent.

To mitigate the fallout of its unending scandals, Facebook has announced two new hirings within its team, yesterday. Jennifer Newstead, currently a legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, will soon be joining as the general counsel of the company and will oversee Facebook’s global legal functions. John Pinette will be joining as the vice president of global communications. Pinette is currently the vice president of marketing and communications at Vulcan, the private company created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Newstead will be replacing Colin Stretch, who announced in July 2018 about his plans to retire from Facebook. However, he will continue at Facebook through the summer to help with the transition, the company mentions in their press release. Stretch had also appeared before Congress in October 2017, to speak on Russian interference in the presidential election. On the other hand, Pinette will be replacing Caryn Marooney, who announced her plans to leave, in February this year.

Mentioning Newstead, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission. We are also truly grateful to Colin for his dedicated leadership and wise counsel over the past nine years. He has played a crucial role in some of our most important projects and has created a strong foundation for Jennifer to build upon.”

Newstead’s assistance in drafting the Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks has been noteworthy. According to The Verge, “ As The Hill points out, a 2002 Justice Department press release describes her (Newstead) as “helping craft” the legislation. Bush administration lawyer John Yoo described her as the “day-to-day manager of the Patriot Act in Congress” in his 2006 book.”

“I’m excited to be joining Facebook at an important time and working with such a fantastic team,” Newstead said. “Facebook’s products play an important role in societies around the world. I am looking forward to working with the team and outside experts and regulators on a range of legal issues as we seek to uphold our responsibilities and shared values.

Pinette, on the other hand, has led communications for Gates Ventures, the private office and innovation lab of Bill Gates for five years, served as head of Asia Pacific communications for Google, and also held various product and corporate communications leadership positions at Microsoft. He has also served as the first head of external communications for hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management.

“John’s deep understanding of the technology industry and his experience leading communications teams will be invaluable to helping us communicate the work we do at Facebook every day,” Sandberg said. “We are also thankful to Caryn for her exceptional contribution to Facebook over the past eight years. She has been an inspiring and thoughtful leader to our communications team and countless others at the company. Both she and Colin will be greatly missed.”

Also, last year, after Alex Stamos, ex-Chief Security Officer at Facebook resigned from the company, Facebook stated that no one would replace Stamos. Facebook decided to not have a central point (CSO) but instead depend on the security teams, basically having no head leading the security team. This means Facebook does not even have a CSO in place.

The public has found this move by Facebook appalling, adding more to its long list of poor decision making. A former FB employee told The Verge, “ The platform — with its tentacles in every last aspect of people’s lives — is now receiving legal counsel by the woman who authored much of the Patriot Act”. Ryan Mac, a tech reporter, tweeted, “Will be interesting to see what the folks that FB hired away from privacy advocacy institutions like EFF and Access Now will do when they have to work with Newstead.”

A US Tech reporter, Laurence Dodds, tweeted about John Pinette, “On his LinkedIn page, Pinette says that he was the director of communications for Microsoft between 1996 and 2007. That means that he was in the hot seat for Microsoft’s big antitrust battle – a years-long political and legal confrontation very similar to the one FB is now facing.”

To know more about this announcement in detail, visit Facebook’s official press release.

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