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Facebook hires a press man from the White House (but not Obama's Gibbs)

When talks with Robert Gibbs, Obama's former media man, foundered, we thought that was the end of the story. Not so. Another White House press man has now joined the team -from Bill Clinton's White House.

Instead it is Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary for Bill Clinton. He has been hired to be Facebook’s vice-president of communications, it was reported today.

Elliot Schrage, who will be Mr Lockhart’s boss at Facebook, said his arrival brought "new skills and greater depth" to the incredibly busy Facebook team.

He added, “His experience building and running a press office at the White House gives him particular appreciation for the demands of a global 24-hour news cycle and the challenges of responding effectively to intense scrutiny.”

Mr Schrage is not new to political hires. While at Google he brought on board Rachel Whetstone, who had been the political secretary to Michael Howard, Britain's former Tory leader. She is now head of communications at Google.

The Financial Times, reporting on Mr Lockhart's move, said Facebook's lobbying muscle on Capitol Hill had until now "not matched its economic power and cultural influence." In the first quarter of 2011, Facebook spent $230,000 on lobbying in Washington, up from $41,000 just a year before.

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