Tech all a twitter about AG run by Facebook exec

Legal News Line Dec. 25, 2008, 3:27pm

Chris Kelly

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - A blog for techies has reported that Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly will soon announce his intention to run for California attorney general in 2010.

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington said multiple sources have confirmed Kelly's intention to join an increasingly crowded race that presumably will be to replace current Attorney General Jerry Brown, who is widely expected to announce his own intention to run for governor.

The move, according to Arrington, "puts Facebook in an awkward position, as Kelly has led the team that represents the company in their ongoing negotiations with attorneys general around the U.S. They'll need to hire a replacement for Kelly, fast."

Technology blogs of various stripes quickly picked up and passed along the rumor throughout the day on Tuesday.

Facebook, the social media site that began as a start-up for Harvard students before becoming a primary competitor for MySpace, is a private company with an estimated 140 to 150 million subscribers. But the company has become embroiled in recent years with legal scuffles over privacy concerns and the spread of computer viruses, according to Arrington.

Reports in recent months have claimed terrorists use Facebook, YouTube and other popular social media sites to recruit

Kelly refused to comment to various news organizations following up on the tip.

Kelly served as an education advisor in the Clinton Administration. Prior to joining Facebook, Kelly served as the chief privacy officer for Excite@Home. He has advised major Internet and media companies on the rapidly changing legal environment for issues of intellectual property and privacy issues.

Arrington has created confusion before in media reports following a poorly labeled, self-described "April Fools joke" on March 31, when Arrington said he was suing Facebook for $25 million. In the post, Arrington states Kelly told him that Facebook would "bury you and bury your crappy blog," and that Kelly "threw his steam hot triple soy latte espresso at me."

The Sacramento Bee, among other organizations, reported the mythical lawsuit.

Should the report of Kelly's candidacy be true, he would provide a distinctly different type of candidate from those who have announced their intention to run so far. Kelly would be the one candidate without political credentials, though his business experience would be unmatched by the current slate.

San Francisco City Attorney Kamala Harris has announced her intention to run, along with California Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D- Torrance, and former Pittsburg, Calif., state Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla.

Sen. Tom Harman, of Long Beach, Calif., is the only Republican to have formally announced his intention to run so far.

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