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  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is introduced at the women's caucus in Sacramento on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Sanberg's appearance comes as the social media giant has entered the Sacramento political world in earnest -- making a long list of campaign contributions and successfully lobbying to kill privacy bills it opposed.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Senator Hanna-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara and Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach escort Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as she attends a women's caucus lunch in Sacramento. Sandberg's appearance comes as the social media giant has entered the Sacramento political world in earnest -- making a long list of campaign contributions and successfully lobbying to kill privacy bills it opposed.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach hugs Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg after she spoke at a women's caucus lunch in Sacramento. Sandberg's appearance comes as the social media giant has entered the Sacramento political world in earnest -- making a long list of campaign contributions and successfully lobbying to kill privacy bills it opposed.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is introduced at the women's caucus in Sacramento on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Sanberg's appearance comes as the social media giant has entered the Sacramento political world in earnest -- making a long list of campaign contributions and successfully lobbying to kill privacy bills it opposed.

Facebook exec touts feminism as company lobbies privacy bills

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 - 11:11 pm

Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg took her feminist speech to Sacramento on Wednesday, giving a luncheon talk promoting her book to the legislative women's caucus, and making a round of office calls inside the Capitol.

"What 'Lean In' is trying to do, both my book and my foundation, is we're trying to get more women into leadership positions like yours," Sandberg told the audience made up largely of lawmakers and lobbyists.

"We want every woman to ask herself, 'What would I do if I weren't afraid? If I believed I could do anything, what would I do?' "

Sandberg's visit comes as Facebook is working to increase its juice in California's Capitol. The social networking company dumped about $79,000 into legislative campaign accounts earlier this summer. That's slightly more than Facebook spent on California politics during all of last year - an election year - and more than double what it spent on politics in 2011, the first year the Silicon Valley company made political donations in its home state.

Facebook's lobbying records show it has been active on more than a dozen bills this year, and in May, it took four Assembly members to a $1,100 dinner at Ella.

The company has successfully fought several bills that sought to create more privacy for Internet users.

One of them, Senate Bill 501 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, would require that social networking websites remove personal information within 96 hours of a user requesting it be taken down, and would require those sites to remove personal information about minors if their parents ask that it be deleted.

"That's been the biggest sticking point," Corbett said of her negotiations with Facebook and other technology companies opposed to the bill, who argue that it violates minors' rights to free speech. "But I am committed to protecting individuals' privacy and I'm willing to try to figure out how to work those issues out."

Corbett said her conversations with Facebook led her to believe they might be able to negotiate a compromise.

The bill is stalled in the Assembly, though Corbett said she hopes to continue working on it next year. She posed for pictures with Sandberg at the women's caucus luncheon.

Sandberg did not answer questions from the press at the event. In an interview earlier this week, she told The Sacramento Bee that "privacy laws are important."

"Our job is to work with the government to protect people," Sandberg said.

Call Laurel Rosenhall, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1083. Follow her on Twitter @laurelrosenhall.

Read more articles by Laurel Rosenhall





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