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Facebook hires big antitrust lawyer

Gamekeeper turned poacher

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With antitrust and privacy investigations already underway, Facebook has hired a big legal gun to fight back against regulators' increasing interest in its business.

Facebook has so far seen off antitrust complaints by rivals but still faces investigation by the FTC on privacy grounds.

So who better to hire than the ex-boss of the Federal Trade Commission, Tim Muris?

Muris, who was last week awarded a lifetime achievement award by the FTC, will presumably help see off complaints from the likes of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He declined to comment to the FT on his new job. Canadian regulators are also investigating the firm.

Facebook has also hired ex-American Council of Civil Liberties lawyer Tim Sparapani.

Tim Muris was chair of the Federal Trade Commission under George W Bush between 2001 and 2004. During this time it mostly took a less active role in investigating and regulating companies. He recently gave evidence against proposals to beef up the FTC's powers.

His most famous achievement was the 'no-call list' protecting people from unsolicited sales calls. He defended the list against several legal challenges before returning to private practice.

Facebook's UK government relations are dealt with by ex-LibDem MP Richard Allan. ®

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