- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Facebook said Thursday that it hired two aides of former President George W. Bush as lobbyists. The world’s largest online social network is stepping up efforts to friend Washington as it grows.

Facebook hired Joel Kaplan as vice president of U.S. public policy in a newly created position. Kaplan will oversee the company’s public policy strategy and interactions with federal and state policymakers. He was previously deputy chief of staff in the Bush White House.

The other hire, Myriah Jordan, will be Facebook’s policy manager, focusing on congressional relations. Jordan most recently served as general counsel to Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina. She also worked in the Bush White House in the office of the Chief of Staff.

Facebook now has four registered lobbyists. The new Republican hires join Democrats Tim Sparapani and Adam Conner. Facebook has 12 staffers in its Washington office, including administrative support.

“At Facebook, we’re committed to explaining how our service works; the important actions we take to protect the more than 500 million people who use our service; and the value of innovation to our economy,” spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement. “This work occurs daily in Washington, at the state level, and with policymakers around the world.”

The company spent $230,000 lobbying in the first quarter, according to a recent filing with the House clerk’s office.

Cathie Martin, who has been managing Facebook’s congressional relations, is taking a leave of absence beginning in early June to take care of personal matters. In the meantime, Sparapani and Jordan will be responsible for congressional relations.

Kaplan begins his post on June 13 and Jordan on June 6.

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