How Facebook Praises and Pressures a Country’s Leader To Get Exactly What It Wants

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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