Opinion Brief

Should Facebook hire Robert Gibbs?

The tech giant reportedly wants to enlist Obama's former press secretary to help it communicate better

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that Facebook was considering hiring Robert Gibbs — one of President Obama's closest advisers, and, until recently, the White House press secretary — to help the company prepare for a blockbuster initial public offering planned for 2012. Gibbs, who has a reputation as a technophobe, would presumably help the company develop a clear communications strategy and develop strategies to allay privacy concerns, which have multiplied in recent years. For Gibbs, the financial upside to a Facebook job is clear: He would stand to make millions of dollars in salary and shares. Should Facebook hire him?

Facebook doesn't need Gibbs's skills: The idea that Gibbs could lend Facebook credibility is laughable, says Jon Friedman at MarketWatch, since "Facebook, with its hundreds of millions of acolytes, has credibility to burn." In any case, the Wall Street money managers who will be influential in the company's public offering only care about profit, and it remains unclear how a former White House spokesman could help on that front. Gibbs may be a "decent, sincere publicist." But Facebook doesn’t need his help "to put the company over the top in its IPO."
"Facebook doesn't need Robert Gibbs at all"

The tech giant could benefit from Gibbs's D.C. friendships: As Facebook "finds itself under increased scrutiny" in Washington, it makes sense to hire Beltway insiders like Gibbs, who offer access to important political decision-makers, says Cecilia Kang at The Washington Post. The company recently hired Marne Levine, a former Obama official, as its vice president of global public policy, and directly responded to privacy issues by having a former ACLU privacy expert testify in Congress on its behalf. Following in their footsteps, Gibbs "would be a valuable asset not only because of his connections, but because of his deep knowledge of the administration's style and thinking and his expertise in government."
"Facebook and Gibbs? Another key hire for company under fire"

Don't forget Obama — this affects him, too: "If Gibbs does take the job, it will draw a line between the president and the tech industry as the election approaches," says Nitasha Tiku at New York — reminiscent of the Bush administration's ties to Big Oil, though less lucrative. That could actually hurt the president. If Obama is tangentially associated with Silicon Valley, he "better hope the coming wave of tech IPOs don't make a popping sound once they hit the public markets."
"Mark Zuckerberg wants Robert Gibbs to become Facebook's own press secretary"

Recommended

What caused Wednesday morning's Microsoft outage?
Microsoft Teams logo on phone
system down

What caused Wednesday morning's Microsoft outage?

ChatGPT passed a Wharton MBA exam, and academics are taking note
The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
'remarkably good'

ChatGPT passed a Wharton MBA exam, and academics are taking note

Is ChatGPT a threat to English class?
A composition book.
Theara Coleman

Is ChatGPT a threat to English class?

T-Mobile data breach compromised 37 million users' information
T-Mobile logo in background and on phone held by sillouette
Steal-Mobile

T-Mobile data breach compromised 37 million users' information

Most Popular

The big debate about alcohol
Alcohol.
In depth

The big debate about alcohol

Former U.S. generals explain how U.S. and German tanks can help Ukraine
Leopard 2 battle tanks
Many tanks

Former U.S. generals explain how U.S. and German tanks can help Ukraine

Britney Spears 'annoyed' after fans call police to conduct wellness check
Britney Spears
leave britney alone!

Britney Spears 'annoyed' after fans call police to conduct wellness check