WASHINGTON — Facebook on Tuesday replaced its head of policy in the United States, Erin Egan, as the social network scrambles to respond to intense scrutiny from federal regulators and lawmakers.
Ms. Egan, who is also Facebook’s chief privacy officer, was responsible for lobbying and government relations as head of policy for the last two years. She will be replaced by Kevin Martin on an interim basis, the company said. Mr. Martin has been Facebook’s vice president of mobile and global access policy and is a former Republican chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
Ms. Egan will remain chief privacy officer and focus on privacy policies across the globe, Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, said.
Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of communications and public policy, said in a statement on Wednesday: “We need to focus our best people on our most important priorities. We are committed to rebuilding people’s trust in how we handle their information, and Erin is the best person to partner with our product teams on that task.”
The executive reshuffling in Facebook’s Washington offices followed a period of tumult for the company, which has put it increasingly in the spotlight on Capitol Hill. Last month, The New York Times and others reported that the data of millions of Facebook users had been harvested by the British political research firm Cambridge Analytica. The ensuing outcry led Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to testify at two congressional hearings this month.
Since the revelations about Cambridge Analytica, the Federal Trade Commission has started an investigation of whether Facebook violated promises it made in 2011 to protect the privacy of users, making it harder for the company to share data with third parties.
At the same time, Facebook is grappling with increased privacy regulations outside the United States. Sweeping new privacy laws called the General Data Protection Regulation are set to take effect in Europe next month. And Facebook has been called to talk to regulators in several countries, including Ireland, Germany and Indonesia, about its handling of user data.
Mr. Zuckerberg said told Congress this month that Facebook had grown too fast and that he hadn’t foreseen the problems the platform would confront.
“Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company,” he said. “For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can bring.”
The executive shifts put two Republican men in charge of Facebook’s Washington offices. Mr. Martin will report to Joel Kaplan, vice president of global public policy. Mr. Martin and Mr. Kaplan worked together in the George W. Bush White House and on Mr. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.
Facebook hired Ms. Egan in 2011; she is a frequent headliner at tech policy events in Washington. Before joining Facebook, she spent 15 years as a partner at the law firm Covington & Burling as co-chairwoman of the global privacy and security group.
Facebook is undergoing other executive changes. Last month, The Times reported that Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief information security officer, planned to leave the company after disagreements over how to handle misinformation on the site.