‘Insufficient and very defensive’: how Nick Clegg became the fall guy for Facebook’s failures

Thu, 14 Oct 2021 09:00:46 GMT 10

‘Insufficient and very defensive’: how Nick Clegg became the fall guy for Facebook’s failures


After election humiliation and Brexit, the former UK deputy prime minister swapped Westminster for a £2.7m job in Silicon Valley. The catch? Serving as the public face of the crisis-hit company

On Sunday, Nick Clegg did a succession of interviews with some of the US’s biggest TV news shows. In his role as Facebook’s vice-president for global affairs and communications, he was defending his company after weeks of headlines about its latest crisis – this time involving Frances Haugen, a Facebook staffer turned whistleblower who had testified days earlier before a committee of the US Senate. The story centred on a stash of company documents that Haugen had given to the Wall Street Journal. The central allegation, which Facebook vehemently denies, was that the company had ignored its own research into the harms caused by some of its products in favour of the pursuit of “astronomical profits”.

Anyone au fait with the five grim years Clegg spent as the UK’s deputy prime minister would have had the familiar impression of someone emphasising his good intentions in almost impossible circumstances. His facial expression regularly expressed a sort of righteous exasperation; his words seemed to imply that if only his critics could grasp the facts, everything would quickly die down. Like any well-briefed politician, he emphasised a handful of statistics: the 40,000 content moderators Facebook employs, the $13bn (£9.5bn) it says it has spent cracking down on misinformation and hate speech; the company’s claim that the latter accounts for only five of every 10,000 Facebook posts.

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Source link for full text: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/oct/14/insufficient-very-defensive-how-nick-clegg-became-fall-guy-facebook-failures


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