Skip to main content

OTI's Bankston Joins Facebook

Kevin Bankston, director of New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI), and a critic of Facebook privacy practices, is joining Facebook as its new director of privacy policy.

Sarah Morris will succeed Bankston when he exits in June, Bankston tweeted in announcing his new digs.


Morris has been deputy director of OTI.

Facebook's privacy policies have been much on the minds of legislators and regulators in Washington in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data sharing fiasco and the FTC's investigation into whether that violated a 2011 consent decree related to its privacy practices.

Related: Klobuchar, Blackburn Ask FTC to Make Edge Investigations Public

The time is critical both because Facebook has been in the spotlight on privacy--and not in a good way--and because legislators are working on privacy legislation, something Zuckerberg has said the company supports, though it has definite ideas about what the legislation should and shouldn't do.

Bankston said he will be joining Facebook in mid-June, then in August moving out to the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

He concedes the move may seem odd given his views of the company and past "scandals."

"I’ve been critical of Facebook in the past, so it’s natural to ask why I’d want to join the company," he blogged. "I am not going to Facebook despite the fact that I have been a critic. I am going because I have been. Because I believe in the promise of what the company is building — that their products have the potential to connect people to information and communities that matter to them, and to empower people to communicate and share in powerful ways."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.