SIR Nick Clegg is looking forward to an “exciting new adventure” after landing the lucrative role as Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications.
The move surprised Westminster. It will see the former Deputy Prime Minister take up his new job on Monday with his family moving out to California’s Silicon Valley in the New Year.
His appointment comes as Mark Zuckerberg, the US giant’s chief, seeks to repair the company’s reputation in the face of rows over transparency and the role of “fake News” on the platform after the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 election of Donald Trump as US President.
Labour said it was “a damning indictment of the sorry state of our country’s politics” that Sir Nick was becoming a lobbyist for the firm while it was under investigation both in the UK and by the European Union.
Writing on the social media platform, the 51-year-old said Facebook and its apps, including Whatsapp and Instagram, were “at the heart of some of the most complex and difficult questions we face as a society” over individual privacy, democratic integrity, the balance between free speech and prohibition online, artificial intelligence and the well-being of children.
He added: “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.”
It is understood Mr Zuckerberg was personally involved in hiring the former Liberal Democrat leader, who led the party from 2007 to 2015, including through five years in the Coalition Government with the Tories.
Sir Nick will work from London until January, replacing Elliot Schrage, who did the job for 10 years and will remain as an adviser.
The former DPM, who lost his Sheffield Hallam seat to Labour’s Jared O’Mara at the 2017 election, is the most senior politician from Europe to work for Facebook.
However, he has not always been so keen on the firm, writing in a 2016 article for the London Evening Standard that he was “not especially bedazzled” by Facebook.
“While I have good friends who work at the company, I actually find the messianic Californian new-worldy-touchy-feely culture of Facebook a little grating,” he wrote.
“Nor am I sure that companies such as Facebook really pay all the tax they could; though that’s as much the fault of governments who still haven’t got their tax act together.”
The US business is facing a potential £1.2 billion fine for a data breach that allowed hackers to access the personal information of 30 million users.
Source : HeraldScotland