Mark Zuckerberg has promoted Nick Clegg to the 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 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 recently emerged 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 2010-2015 coalition government. 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 about how virtual spaces should be governed.
“Our existing and future products will continue to be a subject of intense societal interest and debate,” Clegg said. “I am hugely looking forward to playing a role in that debate on our behalf, and ensuring that we have the right policies to both reflect our responsibilities and to support the building of innovative new products for years to come.”
The promotion comes amid an overhaul in the top ranks of Facebook, which over the past year lost top executives including chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer, chief revenue officer David Fischer and Fiji Simo, head of the Facebook app.
Additional reporting by Kiran Stacey in Washington