Nick Clegg, Fb’s head of communications, has dismissed allegations that misuse of the social community influenced the Brexit referendum consequence.
Talking on the BBC’s At this time programme, the UK’s former deputy prime minister stated the corporate’s investigations had turned up no proof of Russian involvement within the marketing campaign, not like when it ran a related inquiry into the 2016 US election.
As for Cambridge Analytica, the election consultancy that shut down after it emerged it had used improperly acquired Fb knowledge to focus on voters with political promoting, Clegg cited an investigation by the UK’s info commissioner to argue that “no UK voter’s Fb knowledge was concerned”.
“We ran two full analyses of all the info now we have within the run-up to the Brexit referendum, following precisely the identical methodology as we did after the FBI notified Fb of outdoor interference within the 2016 US presidential election. We’ve shared all this info with the choose committee and Westminster and elsewhere. We’ve discovered no proof of a big try by outdoors forces.
“I’ve additionally heard it claimed that that [Cambridge Analytica] knowledge was used within the Brexit referendum right here,” Clegg added. “In actual fact, the watchdog, the UK watchdog that has that knowledge … firstly they stated this final week, that there was no uncooked knowledge from Fb on the servers of Cambridge Analytica, however greater than that, they’ve confirmed that no UK voter’s Fb knowledge was concerned.”
The Fb government didn’t tackle allegations that the social community’s viral mechanics assist populist politics on the expense of extra reasonable campaigns, a concept which teachers and researchers have cited to clarify the rise of populism within the 21st century. However earlier this month, he dismissed these issues as properly, telling the Instances’s Purple Field podcast that populism was “not new”.
“Social media has one thing which is qualitatively new, which is scale and velocity. What is just not new is folks arising with bonkers concepts, or faux concepts, or indulging in extremist or populist factors of view. That was not invented 15 years in the past. Populism, extremism, battle and division in society, significantly when you’ve, as now we have had since 2008, profound financial and social shocks to society, I believe folks some instances confuse symptom with trigger,” Clegg stated.
“You see a number of the divisions in society performed out on social media … if you take a look at the claims and counterclaims concerning the impact of social media on the US presidential elections in 2016, [you] uncover that the factor that created the bubble impact was the suggestions loop between the tweets of the then candidate Donald Trump and the media, cable TV.”
Clegg additionally argued that the latest backlash in opposition to expertise corporations created “the chance that we throw the newborn out with the bathwater and make it virtually inconceivable for tech to innovate correctly … Know-how is just not good or unhealthy. Know-how down the ages is utilized by good and unhealthy folks for good and unhealthy ends.”
Earlier than he took the job at Fb, however after the Brexit and US presidential votes, Clegg wrote within the Night Commonplace that he discovered “the messianic Californian new-worldy-touchy-feely tradition of Fb just a little grating”. Nevertheless, even then, he argued that “populists know easy methods to enchantment to feelings in a method cheap, measured liberals virtually by no means do. So the politics of moderation must pack an even bigger emotional punch. That’s our drawback – not Mark Zuckerberg’s.”