Google blocked an offensive video from being seen in several countries this week, as anti-American protests spread.
Last year, Facebook and Twitter played central roles in the Arab spring.
International entanglements for U.S.-based internet companies certainly aren’t limited to Islamic countries. Google has banged heads with China’s censors and European authorities concerned about privacy.
At what point do these global companies with hundreds of millions of users establish their own internal state departments?
The biggest players have ramped up their government relations operations in recent years, as they focus more on lobbying Washington and expanding markets abroad.
While they haven’t yet built their own diplomatic corps, they have begun bringing in people with national and international experience.
Erskine Bowles, chief of staff during the Clinton administration, is a director of Facebook.
Al Gore, former vice president and U.S. senator, is a senior adviser to Google. Former Rep. Susan Molinari now heads Google’s office in D.C., where former Rep. Dick Gephardt works as an outside lobbyist for the company. Among the issues lobbied in the last quarter by Gephardt’s firm: international internet regulations....MORE