Facebook Adds to Its Public Policy Staff

Facebook is bringing more inside-the-Beltway firepower to its growing public policy group.

The social networking giant’s latest addition is Catherine Martin, who’ll be the site’s first director of public policy. Previously, Martin worked for President George W. Bush, serving as deputy assistant to the president and deputy communications director for policy and planning.

She'll be based in Washington, D.C., working with Marne Levine, vp of global public policy, and Tim Sparapani, director of public policy.

Prior to her White House work, Martin held staff positions with the National Economic Council and the Department of Commerce. Early in her career, she worked for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., when he was Texas’ attorney general.

Since 2007, when Facebook hired Adam Conner to introduce the company to Washington, it has increased its presence in the capital from one staffer to eight.

Facebook's growing D.C. shop comes at a time when the issue of online privacy is heating up on the Hill. So far, there are at least four bills that have been introduced or are in the works. Next week, comments are due on the Federal Trade Commission's privacy report, which asserted that private industry has failed to do enough to protect consumers.

Just last week, Facebook drew a congressional inquiry from Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Joe Barton, R-Tex., for the network's new opt-in feature that would allow users to share their personal information with external Web sites and applications.