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Facebook Looks for Policy Geeks to Think Global, Act Local

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, May 23 2011

Facebook is advertising Director of Policy posts focused on Middle East, Scandanavia, France, Germany, Spain, Brussels, and elsewhere.

As Facebook spreads around the globe, the company is eager to pair its technological reach with a policy engagement that's savvy about the politics and culture of the spots it finds itself doing business in. The company is right now hiring on a raft of policy directors to staff the Middle East, eastern and western Europe, and elsewhere. But if you're a policy person eager to apply, no fluffing up your resume. (More on that below.)

"Policy makers in many countries naturally wish to talk to us," read the postings, "and we wish to talk to them. The Policy team manages these conversations -- sharing information about the company's products and activities, responding to queries from politicians and regulators, and providing input into the development of regulation of the internet sector." The Facebook jobs are tailored toward policy folks with at least ten years of experience working in the field; "candidates with both government/politics and industry experience strongly preferred."

Just this week, as it turns out, Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are in Paris at Nicolas Sarkozy's e-G8 get-together talking about global Internet goverance and the like, but they can't be everywhere. Besides, suggests the San Jose Mercury News' Mike Swift, Facebook is aware of the fact that while code might be code, social assumptions, practices, and norms can vary widely and in nonformulaic ways. "It's hard to predict what 600 million people expect," said Facebook privacy counsel Ed Palmieri at a recent conference, as quoted by Swift. Google is said to have learned vicariously through Google's experiences around the planet, but particularly in China -- which was handled by engineer-technologists like Sergey Brin and Larry Page and which, in retrospect, didn't go particularly well. (Steven Levy has a great chapter on Google's rocky experience in China in his "In the Plex.")

But if you're interested in one of the jobs, you're going to have to stick to your one true identity when you apply. The company would prefer that you apply through Facebook, and to make it easier for you, they pre-populate your application with your name, telephone number, email address -- and, if you leave the box checked, your work and school history. You might think about going back and tweaking things, as one sometimes does when applying for a job. ("Why yes, my most recent title was 'Director of Public Policy on All Things Internetish.') But, of course, Facebook would know.