Snapchat hires a lobbyist in record time

Yelp and Twitter have one. Google, Microsoft and Facebook have many.

Now, as The Hill reported Tuesday, Snapchat, the private, two-year-old photo sharing site, has hired its first D.C. lobbying firm, usually a milestone in a firm’s maturity.

The move by the young company that reportedly turned away $3 billion from Facebook runs counter to the old view that the tech industry doesn’t pay attention to Washington until it’s in trouble with regulators or congressional leaders.

Still, it may already be too late for Snapchat, the Venice Beach firm started by Stanford grads, to build goodwill first in Washington before it needs D.C. friends.

The company recently suffered from a hack that exposed more than 4 million users’ information, as the Mercury News covered last week. The breach led to calls for a Federal Trade Commission investigation. Previously, one privacy group complained to the federal agency that the company kept user photos and videos despite promises it would delete them.

Snapchat has hired Heather Podesta + Partners, according to a Senate lobbying filing and will work on communications, computers and consumer protection issues. Also, according to the document, Podesta will educate  for Snapchat, “policymakers regarding the application’s operation and practice.”

What I don’t know for sure is whether Snapchat did break any lobbying records.

Above: Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)







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