Facebook’s Head of Public Policy Neil Potts Has A History Of Lobbying For The Swamp

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Written by Ann Brown
Neil Potts
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies/Flickr

Facebook’s Public Policy Director Neil Potts has an interesting job background. Many just got to hear of Potts during the recent Congressional Hearing on online hate speech at which the Facebook executive was bombarded by racists comments by public commenters on the live stream of the hearing.

But it seems Potts has experience in winning over government officials. He was a former lobbyist when he worked for Patton Boggs LLP in 2005. He was a registered lobbyist and the client was the National Football League Players Association. Potts was also a lobbyist for Wal-Mart Stores. Patton Boggs describes itself as a full-service global law firm. Their website boasts: “We provide insight at the point where law, business, and government meet.”

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Potts worked at Patton Boggs from 2005 to 2013 where he was an attorney handling public policy: antitrust; sports law; financial services, according to his LinkedIn page. From there he went to work for law firm WilmerHale, from September 2013 to April 2016 where he was Public Policy and Legislative Affairs Counsel. He handled regulatory and government affairs; public policy; strategic response. He also worked as a lobbyist here as well. He lobbied for Apple.

After that, he worked for five years as defense counsel for the Truman National Security Project. This is a left-leaning Washington D.C.-based think tank that conducts training in national security issues and advocates.

Potts joined Facebook in April 2016.

Ever since becoming the face of Facebook policy, Potts has had to defend the tech giant to government officials. In fact, last month, two senators — Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri — “slammed the Federal Trade Commission for the prospect that it might fine Facebook Inc. no more than $5 billion over multiple privacy violations and called for the agency to impose ‘sweeping changes’ on the beleaguered social media company,” Ad Age reported.

Will the former lobbyist now do some magic to help Facebook? Only Neil Potts knows.

Source: Disclosures.house.gov