Lawmakers 'fed up' with Facebook send tech company's lobbyists scrambling: report
Mark Zuckerberg (AFP)

According to a report from Politico, the "army" of lobbyists representing Facebook are finding closed doors in Congress as they attempt to do damage control for the tech giant still reeling from revelations made by former employee Frances Haugen.

As the report notes, Facebook -- which was brutally mocked on Thursday after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company was rebranding as "Meta" -- is finding that representatives of the company are no longer being welcomed by lawmakers and their aides even when they are trying to deliver good news about changes at the company.

According to Politico's Emily Birnbaum, "Several congressional aides involved in efforts to regulate the tech companies say they are fed up with Facebook's government relations strategy — an attitude that is making it even harder for the company to recover from the revelations of whistleblower Frances Haugen. Some offices on the Hill have started to either ignore the company's outreach or ban its representatives altogether."

As Crystal Patterson, who worked at Facebook for seven years before quitting in frustration explained, "Over time, the relationship has soured in such a way that even if Facebook comes to Congress with good news, it's met with skepticism or [lawmakers and aides] pivot to something else they're not happy with," adding that trying to talk to lawmakers had become a "tough thing."

"The problem right now is that the perception of the company is so negative that, even as the company's working on things these members would care about and making improvements, they're not receptive to hearing about it," she added.

"Five congressional aides told POLITICO that Facebook's reputation has been plummeting for years, and the situation has worsened in the wake of Haugen's revelations. They spoke on condition of anonymity to speak about private conversations, " Birnbaum wrote, adding, "Some say Facebook's struggles in Congress are only the latest example of a company that is increasingly losing friends in Washington."

One congressional aide put it more succinctly, telling Politico, "For the most part, they've had little influence for the last few years. It's not like there was too much lower to go. Their brand generally is worse, so no one cares about Facebook's opposition to legislation."

You can read more here.