Former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg has been promoted by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
His new role will be focused on regulation which puts him at the same level of seniority as the firm’s founder.
So, who is Nick Clegg and why is his promotion important? Here’s all you need to know.
When did Nick Clegg join Facebook?
The 55-year-old was recruited by Facebook in 2018 to be its head of global affairs.
His appointment came as Mr Zuckerberg sought to repair the company’s reputation over its role in spreading misinformation during elections.
Since Sir Nick joined Facebook he’s been the driving force behind its oversight board.
The board is important because in January 2021, it decided to uphold Donald Trump’s suspension from the platform.
Trump was originally suspended after he used the platform to encourage his supporters who were rioting at Capitol Hill.
Sir Nick has also argued better regulation is needed in the tech sector and that it should not be down to private companies to decide on what constitutes truth – something he said would be an “inappropriate power”.
He has repeatedly defended Facebook’s use of data and advertising, including last year in response to claims by ex-employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Just after those allegations were made in October, Sir Nick announced several new Facebook features to help safeguard young people.
The same month, Facebook said it plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to work on “the metaverse” – a new computing platform that promises to connect people virtually.
Why is Nick Clegg’s promotion significant?
Mr Zuckerberg said he had asked Sir Nick to become president of global affairs at Facebook’s parent company Meta because “we need someone at the level of myself (for our products) and Sheryl (for our business) who can lead and represent us for all our policy issues globally”.
“For the last three years, Nick has managed some of the most complex issues our company faces – including content policy, elections, the establishment of the oversight board, and more,” Mr Zuckerberg said in a statement posted to his personal Facebook account.
“Nick will now lead our company on all our policy matters, including how we interact with governments as they consider adopting new policies and regulations, as well as how we make the case publicly for our products and our work.”
But despite the promotion, Mr Zuckerberg said Sir Nick will still to report himself and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Ms Sandberg also offered her congratulations as she shared Mr Zuckerberg’s post, adding: “Nick’s calm and principled leadership will continue to be an asset for Meta in the months and years to come.”
He will be replaced as head of communications and public affairs by David Ginsberg, Ms Sandberg said.
Who is Nick Clegg - and how much is he paid to work at Facebook?
Liberal Democrat Sir Nick Clegg served as deputy PM in the coalition government from 2010 to 2015 before quitting politics after losing his Sheffield Hallam seat in the 2017 general election.
Nick moved to Silicon Valley with his wife, the lawyer Miriam González Durántez, and three children when he was offered a job working for Facebook in 2018.
In 2021, The Times reported that Nick Clegg was earning a yearly salary of £2.7 million - a far cry from the £80,000 or so he was earning as a backbench MP.
The family now live in a £7 million mansion in Atherton, near San Francisco, which is often described as America’s “most expensive zip code”.
What is Meta?
Meta is the new name for Mark Zuckerberg’s business empire - a company that now extends beyond social media apps and into the design and manufacture of new technologies.
In the lead up to the 28 October, 2021 announcement, there was speculation about a potential name change as Facebook had covered the logo at its Californian HQ with a ‘like’ emoji.
But while the parent company is now no longer known as Facebook, the Facebook name will live on in the form of the social media app.
Indeed, day-to-day users of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will probably notice no difference to the apps.
Explaining the move, Mr Zuckerberg said, “increasingly, [Facebook] just doesn’t encompass everything we do.
“Building our social media apps will always be an important focus for us but right now our entire brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future.”
“Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company. And I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building towards.”
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