Former Uber PR and policy exec Rachel Whetstone resurfaces at Facebook

Written by Matthew Chapman on 19 July 2017 in News

She has joined Facebook as vice president of communications for WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

Whetstone left Uber in April after a turbulent period for the company, and the string of corporate scandals led to the resignation of chief executive Travis Kalanick.

Prior to her time at Uber, Whetstone was SVP of Communications and public policy at Google. Whetstone was at Google for a decade and spent seven years as US policy chief at the tech giant.

Shortly before leaving she raised eyebrows with a blog featuring a baby GIF that attacked Rupert Murdoch.

Whetstone will join Facebook in September and report to the social network’s VP of technology communications Caryn Marooney.

She said: “It's a real privilege to be joining the Facebook family. Products like WhatsApp have become an important part of my life — making it so much easier to stay in touch with my own family and friends.”

Whetstone is married to Steve Hilton, the former director of strategy for David Cameron, who said in a Guardian opinion piece that he does not have a mobile phone.

Whetstone’s ties with the Conservative party run deep. She joined Conservative Central Office after graduating and was chief of staff to Michael Howard, while her and Hilton were godparents to Cameron’s late son Ivan.

Marooney said Whetstone will bring “unique insight and leadership to an already world-class team” and said the team will “learn from Rachel as we manage some of the world's most interesting communications opportunities”.

She joins Facebook as the tech giant battles the UK government over the encryption of its WhatsApp messaging service.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has been demanding authorities in the UK have access to WhatsApp and other encrypted messaging services because authorities have been unable to access the WhatsApp messages of terrorists.

However, Rudd’s calls have been criticised by civil liberties campaigners because the creation of a ‘back door’ to messaging services to provide authorities access will compromise the security of all messages and leave it vulnerable to hackers.

Picture by: Andrew Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

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