According to a recent report by The Guardian based on internal documents leaked from a court case in California, Facebook has been lobbying and pressuring representatives and politicians from over 35 countries in its attempts to fight privacy laws. That much would seem pretty obvious, but the details revealed by these documents imply a greater degree of collaboration than you may expect, and potential quid pro quo actions by politicians.

A memo authored by Facebook employee Marne Levine from 2013 included in the documents is alleged to reveal communications implying collaboration between then Irish prime minister Enda Kenney and Facebook, showing Facebook's attempts to enlist help against an "uphill battle" on the "data and privacy front" for upcoming "overly prescriptive new laws." The memo also states that Kenney is a "friend of Facebook," appreciative of the company's decision to move headquarters to Dublin and that Ireland is in a position to influence EU decisions via its council presidency in 2013. It even outright states "the prime minister committed to using their EU presidency to achieve a positive outcome on the directive," which we presume to mean the European Data Protection Directive, from which the GDPR spawned.

The memo also mentions the names of dozens of other politicians in the US, EU, UK, and India, though the context isn't clear. Notably, UK politician George Osborne's name was included, together with a request by a Facebook for him to be "even more active and vocal in the European Data Directive debate and really help shape the proposals" alleged to be in exchange for a "review" of Facebook's potential investment in the UK Tech City initiative.

TL;DR (though you really should read the whole report): The Guardian's report of the contents of the memo and other documents, seen by both it and Computer Weekly, heavily implies that lobbying on the part of Facebook could be crossing over to the point of outright manipulation and impropriety. The Guardian report goes so far as to call government actions for Facebook "vassalage," among other details that make the company's efforts sound like the machinations of the bad guy in a modern spy story.

A spokesperson for Facebook issued a pseudo-defense for its actions in a comment to the Guardian following these leaks. Although it wouldn't respond to them in detail, due to them being under seal, they claimed the leaks offered an incomplete picture of the company's actions. "Like the other documents that were cherrypicked and released in violation of a court order last year, these by design tell one side of a story and omit important context.”