‘Exciting new adventure’ for Nick Clegg as former deputy PM joins Facebook
Social media giant Facebook has appointed ex-Liberal Democrat leader Sir Nick Clegg to lead its global affairs and communications team.
Taking up the position from today (October 22), the former deputy prime minister is due to move to California in the New Year with his wife Miriam and their three sons.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, is believed to have been personally involved in recruiting Sir Nick – a decision that some will see as part of Facebook’s effort to repair its reputation.
The appointment follows a number of PR disasters for the Silicon Valley-headquartered company, including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, a mass security breach and the continuing proliferation of ‘fake news’ on its platform.
Sir Nick, who lost his Sheffield seat in the 2017 general election, said the new job represents “an exciting new adventure” and “new beginning” for him and his family.
Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, praised Sir Nick sas “a thoughtful and gifted leader” with a deep understanding of the “responsibilities we have to people who use our service around the world”.
But shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett MP was critical of the appointment, calling it “a damning indictment” of UK politics that “at a time when digital giants such as Facebook are rightly coming under public scrutiny, our former deputy prime minister has been hired to lobby on their behalf”.
Discussing his new role, Sir Nick said that Facebook and its apps, including messaging tool Whatsapp and photo-focused social platform Instagram, sit “at the heart” of some of society’s “most complex and difficult questions”, including issues like individual privacy, the democratic process, freedom of speech, protecting children and AI.
According to Sky News, he commented: “I believe that Facebook must continue to play a role in finding answers to those questions – not by acting alone in Silicon Valley, but by working with people, organisations, governments and regulators around the world to ensure that technology is a force for good.
“I am looking forward to being part of this endeavour. Throughout my public life I have relished grappling with difficult and controversial issues and seeking to communicate them to others. I hope to use some of those skills in my new role.”
He continued: “As someone who has spent a lifetime arguing for Britain’s wholehearted commitment to Europe, it is of course a wrench to be leaving the public debate at a crucial time in the Brexit process.
“But the key decisions will soon pass to Parliament, of which I am no longer a member, and once I had decided to take up this unique new challenge at Facebook, I felt it was best to get going sooner rather than later.”
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