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Facebook names former U.K. lawmaker as head of global affairs

Nick Clegg, former Liberal Democrat member of parliament, is hired as Facebook's head of global affairs
Image: Facebook hires former British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg as head of its global affairs and communications
Former British deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrats leader, Nick Clegg has been hired by Facebook as its head of global affairs and communications.Alejandro Garcia / EPA file

LONDON — Facebook has named a former British politician as its new head of global affairs and communications as the company continues to tackle several high-profile scandals.

Nick Clegg, the former leader of U.K.'s Liberal Democrats, announced on Friday that he was joining the social media giant based in California.

Facebook has been in hot water with lawmakers and the public due to controversies surrounding its handling of user data and Russian meddling in U.S. elections and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It prompted several public funds, including New York City Pension Funds, that hold shares in the company to back a proposal on Wednesday to remove Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg as chairman.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg hinted at the scandals in a statement welcoming Clegg to the company.

"The challenges we face are serious and clear and now more than ever we need new perspectives to help us through this time of change," she said in a post on Facebook. "If we can honor the trust they put in us and live up to our responsibilities, we can help more people use technology to do good."

Clegg was a member of parliament from 2005 to 2017, and also served as Britain's deputy prime minister from 2010 to 2015. The anti-Brexiter said in a Facebook post that he plans to bring his experience of grappling with controversy in public office to the job.

Clegg said he hopes to help the company navigate its "new responsibilities" and tackle issues of individual privacy, free speech and democratic processes. The company must work with the public, governments and regulators "to ensure that technology is a force for good," he said.

Clegg replaces former head of global affairs Elliot Schrage, who headed the department for a decade. Schrage remains an advisor to Sandberg and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.