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Facebook hires former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart

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Joe Lockhart handled the media during President Bill Clinton’s turbulent second term, impeachment hearings and all.

Who better to run communications at Facebook?

The former White House press secretary next month will join the social networking phenom as vice president of global communications. In that post, he will manage corporate, policy and international communications, reporting to Elliot Schrage, who is the company’s vice president of global communications, marketing and public policy.

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Facebook, which is gearing up for a highly anticipated initial public offering as early as this fall, has been beefing up its presence in Washington as it faces rising scrutiny for privacy and contemplates a push into China. It also recently got itself into hot water for hiring a public relations firm to pitch negative stories about rival Google.

Lockhart, a former television reporter, has deep connections in Washington, having worked on several prominent political campaigns, including Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.

In 2001, he founded the Glover Park Group, a communications firm in Washington, D.C. and New York which advises companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo. He also worked for technology giant Oracle Corp. as a senior vice president when it had a spate of bad publicity.

Facebook did have some discussions with former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, but nothing came of the talks.

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-- Jessica Guynn


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