Twitter Inc. has signed up its first federal lobbyist and is launching a political action committee, Twitter#PAC, to gather campaign donations, the seven-year-old social media company announced Friday.
William Carty, a Twitter manager for public policy who joined the company in September 2012, is lobbying on “[i]ssues related to patent reform, privacy, internet freedom and net neutrality," according to lobbying registration paperwork filed with Congress. Carty came to Twitter from the Senate Commerce Committee, where he served as a policy director for the panel's Republican members.
The San Francisco-based company on Friday also announced that it hired Nu Wexler to handle public policy communications in Washington. Wexler is a former spokesman for Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).
".#PAC takes flight, @WRDCarty registers as our first lobbyist, and @wexler comes aboard," Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser tweeted Friday, linking to a Washington Post report.
A Twitter representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter, which has 200 million users who communicate in messages of 140 characters or less, is part of the coalition of tech companies, civil liberties groups, and investment firms that is pushing for greater transparency after The Post and Britain's Guardian newspaper published stories in June reporting that the government has wide-reaching access into user information held by members of the tech industry.
"We believe it’s important to be able to publish numbers of national security requests—including FISA disclosures—separately from non-secret requests," Jeremy Kessel, a Twitter manager for legal policy, wrote in a July blog post.
On the IP front, Twitter is advocating for what it calls the Innovator's Patent Agreement, which it started using in May with a patent issued for “User Interface Mechanics." Under the agreement, Twitter only will use the patent for defensive purposes unless it receives permission from the inventor to assert the patent for another purpose.
Twitter legal director Benjamin Lee wrote in a May blog post that Twitter intends to use the agreement on all of the patents it receives.
"We hope the adoption of the IPA will spur constructive dialogue on making patent system work better for companies, inventors, and policymakers alike," Lee wrote.
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