Facebook hires Nick Clegg as Head of Global Affairs

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg has been hired by Facebook as its head of global affairs and communications.

Clegg has just released the following statement:

"I am delighted to be joining Facebook. After almost twenty years in European and British politics, this is an exciting new adventure for me. 

"Having spoken at length to Mark and Sheryl over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook’s apps but to society at large. I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey.

"Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus and Instagram are at the heart of so many people’s everyday lives – but also at the heart of some of the most complex and difficult questions we face as a society: the privacy of the individual; the integrity of our democratic process; the tensions between local cultures and the global internet; the balance between free speech and prohibited content; the power and concerns around artificial intelligence; and the wellbeing of our children. 

"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, organizations, 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. 

"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. 

"Miriam and I have been so grateful for the warm welcome extended to us by everyone we have met at Menlo Park. Moving to California is a new beginning for us – and for our three sons – which we are looking forward to with great excitement and anticipation."

He starts at Menlo Park on Monday, before permanantly moving to Silicon Valley in January.

Clegg replaces Elliot Schrage, who announced he was stepping down in June.

Schrage had led its public policy and communications for 10 years, having joined from Google. He was responsible for Facebook’s response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

As a former MEP, Clegg’s reported arrival comes at a potentially pivotal time for Facebook, as it faces a series of complaints from the European Union. The EU is currently looking into its terms and conditions, its role in Cambridge Analytica, data breaches and privacy.