Facebook Hires Nick Clegg, Britain’s Former Deputy Prime Minister, to Run Global Lobbying Efforts

Nick Clegg, former leader of the Liberal Democrats party, gestures while delivering a speech on Brexit as part of the party’s general-election campaign in London, U.K., on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. In the closing stages of the election, assumptions have been turned on their head, from Theresa May’s initial commanding advantage in public opinion to the theory that the Liberal Democrats could sop up support among almost half of the population that had never wanted Brexit to come to pass. Unfortunately for the Liberal Democrats, it is stuck in the polls around the 10 percent mark, little more than the 8 percent they won in the 2015 election. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Facebook Inc. hired Nick Clegg, Britain’s former deputy prime minister, to run its global lobbying efforts, as governments around the world debate how best to regulate the social media giant.

As leader of the Liberal Democrats, Clegg was at the heart of the British government from 2010 to 2015. He’s also a former member of the European Parliament who knows his way around the institutions of the European Union. His wife, Miriam, is Spanish and a top trade lawyer.

Clegg’s hire comes as Facebook is under fire from regulators, politicians and authorities around the world on issues ranging from user privacy breaches, to the proliferation of fake news and hate speech on its platforms. He speaks French, Dutch and German.

Bringing a former local politician on board could especially help the Silicon Valley giant in the U.K., where it is under investigation for letting the data of millions of its users end up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm working on Donald Trump’s 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

“The company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook’s apps but to society at large,” Clegg wrote on his Facebook page. “I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey.” His title at Facebook will be Vice President, Global Affairs and Communications.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg, Robert Hutton and Natalia Drozdiak