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Facebook hires ex-UK Deputy Prime Minister as global PR boss

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When Sir Nick Clegg held the bargaining chip during the contentious 2010 UK general elections, not many would have predicted that the then Liberal Democratic Party leader would years later land a top job at Facebook.

The former UK Deputy Prime Minister on October 19 was announced as an integral part of Facebook’s global policy and communications team, at a time when the social media giant faces troubles over data protection breaches, election meddling and its role in the proliferation of fake news.

In a post on Facebook, the former British politician said he was delighted to joining the social media company and that the social networking site must work towards answering the issues it is faced with.

“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,” he said.

His official position at Facebook will be that of Vice-President, Global Affairs and Communications, with reports in British media saying the ex-UK Deputy Prime Minister will have a leading role in shaping the company’s strategy.

Sir Clegg will relocate to Facebook’s London offices until the end of the year, according to the Financial Times who first broke the story. In January of next year, he is set to move to Silicon Valley in California, US. He is set to replace Eliott Schrage who announced his imminent departure earlier in the year. Another high ranking member of the team, Rachel Whetstone left the company in July with the former Google and Uber employee joining Netflix.


The move is being hailed as a surprise with FT reporting that European politicians rarely enjoy privileged status in the world’s insular tech hub of Silicon Valley. Other British reports such as The Guardian claimed the appointment of Sir Clegg may indicate that Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is intent on warming to relations with the European Union (EU).

Mr. Zuckerberg, who could face a potential vote to limit his powers at a shareholders meeting in 2019, has in the recent past been on the spot for Facebook’s handling of data protection breaches. EU implemented a strong data protection law in May of this year which strictly regulates data protection and privacy in Europe, with a similarly complimentary one being effected in the UK at the same time.

FT said that Mr. Zuckerberg as well as Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sanderg were heavily involved in the recruitment of Sir Clegg.

Sudden Rise and Fall

Sir Clegg certainly was not the kingmaker that political analysts in Britain had hailed him to be in the run up to the UK elections in 2010, with some having even boldly predicted that his Lib Dem Party may even clinch him the British premiership. But when the eventual outcome of elections indicated that no political party held a clear majority, the UK government risked a ‘hung parliament’ where no business could be conducted.

The stage was set for negotiations and with traditional rivals the Conservative Party and the Labour Party, who held the two higher majorities in the British Parliament respectively failing to agree due to clashing principles, Sir Clegg played the gambit. The coalition government he formed with the Conservative Party, led at the time by David Cameron, saw Cameron ascend to premieship and Sir Clegg become his deputy.

Five years later however, Sir Clegg would lose his seat in parliament as an extended consequence of entering into the coalition government. The Liberal Democrats would also fail to hold the same clout that had propelled their rise to have a stake in the top table. This paved the way for a Conservative Party led Britain that oversaw the country’s Brexit vote in 2016 and the eventual resignation of former PM Cameron.


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Mike Njoroge
Mike Njorogehttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Mike Njoroge is the founder of Daystar Oracle and FootballTriangle. He is passionate about news, religion and sports. He can be reached at: [email protected]
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