richallen1It was inevitable, given Facebook‘s rapid growth around the world and especially in countries around Europe. The company has hired an experienced lobbyist, Richard Allen, to represent it to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, according to The Guardian.

Once a technology-focused member of the British parliament, Allen had been leading Cisco’s “policy work on advanced technologies in the EU” since 2005.

His new boss at Facebook, prospective California attorney general candidate Chris Kelly, tells the Guardian the rationale behind the hire:

There is a concern we’ve had for some time that – in a well-meaning attempt to protect consumers – legislators or regulators would end up passing laws that would keep people from the beneficial sharing of information.

Facebook, with some 200 million monthly active users around the world, needed somebody who could navigate the halls of power in Brussels. More, from The Guardian:

Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, which campaigns for the rights of British citizens online, says technology companies are increasingly choosing to exert pressure at European level, rather than in more tightly monitored environments, such as Westminster. “It is much easier for commercial concerns to lobby Brussels, which is distant from public attention but shapes very important legislation,” he said. “Businesses will pay to make sure their views are heard, and it’s difficult for citizens to match that.”

This follows Facebook’s expansion recent expansion in Washington, D.C. It hired American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Andrew Sparapani to lobby the US government in March.

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