Rob Rose Editor: Financial Mail

If you think SA’s government was alone in effectively putting itself up for rent to private interests, like those of the Gupta family, this week’s Facebook leaks should act as a tonic for any such naiveté. The fact is, large companies have been trying to compromise policymakers for years. In the US, it even has a quaintly polite name: lobbying. At home, we tend to refer to the practice, or at least the particular flavour of it brewed by a venal former president and his pastiche of cartoon villain sidekicks, as state capture. Now, this new insight into Facebook’s practices stems from documents filed in a California court in response to a 2017 case against Facebook by app developer Six4Three — first reported by Computer Weekly and the British newspaper The Guardian, with investigative journalist Duncan Campbell. The e-mails reveal Facebook’s sprawling lobbying operation across the world — including the UK, India, the US, Brazil and Europe. While the original documents, seen by the FM,...

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