The man who many considered to be David Cameron’s sidekick is now in charge of policy decisions at the largest Tech firm in the world. The man who represented Sheffield, Hallam in the House of Commons is now potentially dictating the way that people interact with WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook all over the world.
Whilst Clegg may have left the Liberal Democrat party in a complete shambles, one can only hope that he will treat his role at Meta more seriously. In 2012 the BBC released a hit comedy television series called ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’. In the series the two main actors parodied the relationship between David Cameron and Nick Clegg. David Cameron was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time, and Nick Clegg was the Deputy Prime Minister.
Today, Mark Zuckerberg is the undisputed God of the Metaverse, and it appears that once again Nick Clegg is stepping in as a Number 2. Just on a slightly larger scale. One can imagine that his compensation package is also a little better today.
With the amount of government involvement in what Meta’s Facebook and other brands are doing, especially after the recent whistleblower. It may be prudent to hire a former politician to… to lock horns with current politicians, if necessary. It is clear that Zuckerberg believes that Clegg will not be brushed aside as easily as he once was when he worked as a government minister. Or, indeed, as he was made to look by the BBC series.
However, Clegg’s relations with the current UK government are not what they once were. Last year the UK’s Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries was quoted saying: “Mark Zuckerberg, Nick Clegg and others who are wanting to take off into the metaverse, my advice is stay in the real world. You will be accountable to this act.” She also insisted that the same people “Put those engineers [whom Meta Platforms announced they were hiring] now onto abiding by your terms and conditions and removing your harmful algorithms.”
By all accounts running Zuckerberg’s businesses is no easy task. Especially after recent revelations from “The Facebook Papers” by Frances Haugen.
Why is Zuckerberg Kingmaking Nick Clegg?
By all accounts Clegg was already running a lot of Meta’s global policy organization. This week Mark Zuckerberg increased Clegg’s remit substantially though. Including making Clegg report directly to him, rather than to the COO Sheryl Sandberg (more on that later).
In a post, the Facebook founder shared how Clegg will now “lead our company on all our policy matters.” As a justification to this move, Zuckerberg continued by explaining how “we need a senior leader at the level of myself (for our products) and Sheryl (for our business) who can lead and represent us for all of our policy issues globally.”
The move is partially because Zuckerberg wants to dedicate his time to technology and products. An area that he feels more comfortable with than reporting to Capitol Hill or the Commons Select Committee in London. A problem that we wrote about in our story about Coinbase from last year.
In the story we highlighted how Bill Gates, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Jeff Bezos have all relinquished their leadership roles to others. A trend that appears to be partially due to the regulatory pressure these entrepreneurs feel. Zuckerberg is doing something similar, but as his empire is arguably bigger than those other entrepreneurs manage, he has several people in his leadership team who he can devolve his responsibilities to. One of them just happens to be Nick Clegg.
Is Nick Clegg better than the COO of Meta at Policy decisions?
Sheryl Sandberg has been on the Board of Directors of Facebook / Meta since 2012, having joined them from Google a few years earlier. She was the first woman to join the Board of Directors at the Tech giant. Many will remember Sandberg due to her request to investigate Soros Holdings in late 2018. The move was ill-received by many at the time:
Confounding the story further. Zuckerberg was reported by the Wall Street Journal, back in 2018, to have fallen out with Sandberg. The story claimed that in the spring of 2018 Zuckerberg had told Sandberg that he blamed her and her teams for the public fallout over Cambridge Analytica.
We may not be party to discussions within the Board at Facebook / Meta today. But one thing is for sure, with all the potential hurdles facing the Tech Giant’s move into the metaverse there is a need for someone more suited to interacting with the likes of George Soros, or indeed the UK or U.S. administrations. What now for Sandberg though? The move must have divided the chasm between Zuckerberg and his COO even further.
Perhaps it’s just a matter of Clegg being in the right place at the right time. But is anything that predictable when it comes to Zuckerberg? Just ask the Winklevoss twins. Or France Haugen.
Author: Andy Samu
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