Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg took her feminist speech to Sacramento today, giving a luncheon talk promoting her book to the legislative women's caucus, and making a round of office calls inside the Capitol.
"What 'Lean In' is trying to do, both my book and my foundation, is we're trying to get more women into leadership positions like yours," Sandberg told the audience made up largely of lawmakers and lobbyists.
"We want every woman to ask herself, 'What would I do if I weren't afraid? If I believed I could do anything, what would I do?'"
Sandberg's visit comes as Facebook is working to increase its juice in California's Capitol. The social networking company dumped about $79,000 into legislative campaign accounts earlier this summer. That's slightly more than Facebook spent on California politics during all of last year -- an election year -- and more than double what it spent on politics in 2011, the first year the Silicon Valley company made political donations in its home state.
Facebook's lobbying records show it has been active on more than a dozen bills this year, and in May, it took eight Assembly members to an $1,100 dinner at Ella. The company has successfully fought several bills that sought to create more privacy for Internet users.
One of them, SB 501 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, would require that social networking web sites remove personal information within 96 hours of a user requesting it be taken down, and would require those sites to remove personal information about minors if their parents ask that it be deleted.
"That's been the biggest sticking point," Corbett said of her negotiations with Facebook and other technology companies opposed to the bill, who argue that it violates minors' rights to free speech.
"But I am committed to protecting individuals privacy and I'm willing to try to figure out how to work those issues out. I believe my conversations with Facebook, I believe they agree we may be able to work something out."
The bill is stalled in the Assembly, though Corbett said she hopes to continue working on it next year. She posed for pictures with Sandberg at the women's caucus luncheon.
Sandberg did not answer questions from the press at the event. In an interview earlier this week, she told The Bee that "privacy laws are important."
"Our job is to work with the government to protect people," Sandberg said.
PHOTO: Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, escort Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg (center) as she attends a women's caucus lunch in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua
Editor's note: This post was updated at 4:24 p.m. to clarify that Facebook opposed one of two Internet privacy bills by Sen. Ellen Corbett. It was also updated at 1:50 p.m. on Aug. 22 to correct that Facebook treated eight lawmakers, not four, to a $1,100 meal at the Ella restaurant in May.