Facebook Spox Who Hailed Trump Ban Is Top Liberal Politician, Former UK Deputy Prime Minister

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Vice President Joseph Biden greets Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg (L) upon his arrival at the Naval Observatory, September 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. Deputy Prime Minister Clegg was attending a reception in his honor. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Facebook head of global affairs and communications Sir Nick Clegg, who said the firm was “pleased” with the ruling on Wednesday, leapt into the role from his previous post as the deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Liberal Democrat party.

Facebook’s own oversight board, known as the company’s “Supreme Court”, ruled on Wednesday that according to their own rules, the company’s blacklisting of former President Donald Trump was a just decision.

Responding for Facebook to the decision by the platform’s internal regulator, Vice-President of Global Affairs and Communications Sir Nick Clegg said the company was “pleased” the board had accepted the social media giant’s rationale that there was “unprecedented circumstances” behind its decision to block the account of a then-sitting U.S. president.

Sir Nick said, the Press Association reported: “While the board has not required Facebook to immediately restore Mr Trump’s accounts, it has not specified the appropriate duration of the penalty… We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate. In the meantime, Mr Trump’s accounts remain suspended.”

Clegg’s naming of the 45th President as “Mr” Trump defied the normal U.S. convention, where former Presidents retain the title for life as a courtesy.

Nick Clegg rose to the prominent position in Silicon Valley by unusual means, having fallen upwards to the position after he was unceremoniously ejected from Britain’s parliament in 2017 by his constituents in the political wake of the Brexit vote, something he strongly opposed. Having been a Liberal member of the European Parliament and then led the UK’s globalist-centrist Liberal Democrats for 13 years, Clegg’s time in the spotlight came when Britain’s 2010 national election failed to deliver a decisive result.

While his party performed badly, losing seats, nevertheless they entered government as the junior coalition partner to the Conservatives which was unable to command enough members to govern alone.

The Liberal Democrats gained control of several important government posts, including Clegg becoming deputy prime minister. But his political capital was seriously weakened during the coalition government when, despite pulling the Conservatives obviously leftwards on several issues, he went back on some key campaign pledges in others, a move which was seen as a serious betrayal of his own voters.

The coalition ended five years later in the 2015 general election when Clegg’s party lost even more seats. Having led his party into poor results two elections in a row, Clegg resigned from the top Liberal Democrat position but remained a member of Britain’s House of Commons.

Soon came the Brexit referendum, however, which the Liberal Democrats as fervent pro-European Unionists deeply opposed. They — along with the rest of the pro-European British establishment — lost that 2016 vote, and were punished again in the 2017 snap election, called to end that period of major political instability. Clegg himself was one of the victims of that election, when in a remarkable upset as the former leader of a UK political party, he lost his own seat.

Clegg was not on the political scrapheap for long, however, as the well-connected former Eurocrat, party leader, and deputy prime minister was picked up by Facebook amid his continued work to oppose the outcome of the Brexit referendum in 2018.

The sort of role the newly-minted vice-president of global affairs and communications would be undertaking was clear at the time. In his own words, Sir Nick said he was to help Facebook navigate the “balance between free speech and prohibited content” and was a believer in Big Tech’s “progressive potential”.

Clegg wrote in 2018 when he was hired: “The worlds of politics and tech too often speak past each other… It is time to build bridges between politics and tech so that tech can become the servant of progress and optimism, not a source of fear and suspicion.”

As Brexit leader Nigel Farage caustically observed at the time of Clegg’s hiring: “This is bad news for free speech.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.