Former UK politician will steer tech company through global regulatory challenges as Zuckerberg focuses on metaverse
Mark Zuckerberg has promoted Nick Clegg to president of global affairs at Facebook’s owner Meta, giving the former UK deputy prime minister more responsibility for steering the social media company through an onslaught of global regulation.
Clegg joined Facebook in 2018 as its head of policy and communications. In the expanded president role announced on Wednesday, he will “lead our company on all our policy matters”, Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta, said, including interacting with governments drawing up new regulations and making “the case publicly” for the company’s products.
Clegg will now report directly to Zuckerberg while continuing to report to chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Zuckerberg said. The move will allow the chief executive and Sandberg to retreat from policy decision-making to focus on building new products and the business respectively, he added.
Zuckerberg, who remains an unpopular figure in Washington following numerous scandals over privacy, content moderation and online child safety, has made a notable retreat from the public eye and from engaging with regulators. He emerged recently to tout his new plans to invest billions of dollars into building an avatar-filled virtual world known as the metaverse.
Clegg was leader of the UK’s Liberal Democrat party and served as deputy prime minister during the coalition government of 2010-2015. His decision to partner with the Conservatives propelled his party into government for the first time, although it was unpopular with many of the party’s supporters.
Clegg lost his seat as an MP in 2017, and joined Facebook just as it was facing intense scrutiny from regulators in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.
In the lead up to the November 2020 US election, he played a role in advising on Zuckerberg’s decision-making around introducing a political advertising blackout, creating an independent oversight board and suspending former president Donald Trump from the platform for repeated rule-breaking following the Capitol riots.
In the new role, he will contend with calls from politicians and regulators worldwide for more rules around antitrust, data privacy, content moderation and child safety, as well as questions over how virtual spaces should be governed.