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Facebook makes ex-FCC chairman its US public policy chief after data scandal

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Kevin Martin, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and now interim head of U.S. public policy for Facebook.

Kimberly White | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Kevin Martin, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and now interim head of U.S. public policy for Facebook.

Facebook is shuffling around its senior leadership in the wake of increased regulatory scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Erin Egan, the social network’s chief privacy officer, was also in charge of U.S. policy, which involved lobbying and government relations.

She will be replaced as head of policy in the U.S. by Kevin Martin on an interim basis, Facebook confirmed to several media outlets on Tuesday.

Egan will stay on as chief privacy officer.

“For the last couple years, Erin wore both hats at the company,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

“Kevin will become interim head of U.S. public policy while Erin Egan focuses on her expanded duties as chief privacy officer.”

The executive shuffle comes following a rough period for the company with revelations that Facebook data were harvested by a developer before being sent over to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Political and regulatory scrutiny followed with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg forced to appear in front of U.S. lawmakers.

At the same time, European Union lawmakers have summoned Zuckerberg to testify on the continent, and Facebook is rolling out changes to try to comply with a massive new data protection law coming into force on May 25, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Martin will report to Joel Kaplan, vice president of global public policy. Kaplan and Martin worked together during the 2000 George Bush and Dick Cheney presidential campaign and then under the administration that followed.

Facebook hired Martin in 2015 as the vice president for mobile and global access policy. He was previously chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

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Sony announces PS5 price and release date: Starts at $399 and launches Nov. 12

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Sony announced the price and release date for the PS5 on Wednesday.

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Trump says ‘not prepared to sign off’ for Oracle-TikTok deal

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President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he was not ready to approve a proposal from Chinese company ByteDance that would make Oracle a technology provider for ByteDance’s popular video-sharing app TikTok. ByteDance submitted a proposal to the Treasury Department over the weekend and is awaiting a response.

It must be “100% as far as national security is concerned,” said Trump, adding that he would have to see the deal first before signing off on it. He said he would receive a report on Thursday morning. 

Trump’s stance adds complexity to a possible arrangement that could resolve a political disagreement between the U.S. and China, after Trump had taken steps to ban the app or have its U.S. operations transferred to a U.S. company.

President Trump said the U.S. government had been looking into the possibility of accepting a payment as part of a transaction.

“Amazingly I find that you’re not allowed to do that,” Trump said, referring to the idea of receiving “key money” for broker a deal, which he first proposed last month. “I said, ‘What kind of a thing is this?’ If they’re willing to make big payments to the government, they’re not allowed because there’s no way of doing that from a — there’s no legal path to do that.” 

He said that lawyers had told him as much.

“How foolish can we be?” Trump said on Wednesday. “So we’re looking into that right now.”

Trump also objected to the idea that ByteDance would retain a majority stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations, while Oracle could gain a minority stake, as Bloomberg has reported.

“Well, we’re looking into that,” he said. “From the standpoint of ByteDance we don’t like that. I mean, just conceptually I can tell you I don’t like that. That has not been told to me yet.”

Oracle offers cloud infrastructure that TikTok could use for data storage and hosting in the U.S. Microsoft, a larger cloud provider, had pursued an acquisition of TikTok’s assets in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand but on Sunday said that ByteDance had chosen not to move forward with a sale. 

WATCH: Oracle-TikTok deal has to be 100% as far as national security is concerned: Trump

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