With its growth — and the accumulation of more than 750 million active users -- Facebook has encountered a slew of political and policy battles. It is grappling with different government rules on online privacy, government censorship, copyright and intellectual property protection, Internet safety and Internet access restrictions.
"Erskine has held important roles in government, academia and business which have given him insight into how to build organizations and navigate complex issues," said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of the privately held Facebook. "Along with his experience founding companies, this will be very valuable as we continue building new things to help make the world more open and connected."
Bowles, appointed by President Obama to co-chair his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also served as the head of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system between 2006 and 2010.
He joins Facebook board members Zuckerberg; Mark Andreesen, venture investor with Andreessen Horowitz; Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix; Donald Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Co.; and Peter Thiel, an early Facebook investor and head of hedge funds Clarium Capital and Founders Fund.
Facebook also has recently hired high-profile political veterans to its government affairs, lobbying and communications staffs.
Last June, it hired former Clinton White House spokesman Joe Lockhart to head its communications team. Last May, Facebook nabbed Republicans Joel Kaplan, a former aide to President George W. Bush, to head its Washington office.
In June 2010, Obama White House staffer Marne Levine was hired to work on policy issues based in Washington. It named Ted Ulloyt, a former counsel to President George W. Bush, as its vice president and general counsel in September 2008.
This story has been updated.