Facebook Inc (FB.O) has hired former British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, to lead its global affairs and communications team, as the social network deals with a number of scandals related to privacy, fake news and election meddling.
The appointment makes Mr Clegg, former leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrats and deputy to David Cameron in the 2010-2015 coalition government, the most senior European politician ever in a leadership role in Silicon Valley.
Facebook said Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, and Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, were closely involved in the hiring process, and started talking to Mr Clegg over the summer.
“Our company is on a critical journey.
“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,” Ms Sandberg said on a Facebook post congratulating Clegg.
Mr Clegg, 51, succeeds Elliot Schrage and will report to Ms Sandberg beginning on Monday.
He will move to California with his family in the new year.
He was ousted as deputy prime minister after the Conservatives won a majority in 2015 in an election that saw his Liberal Democrats suffer a significant loss of support.
Mr Clegg, whose appeal to younger voters was critically damaged when he broke a promise not to raise student tuition fees, lost his own seat in Britain’s parliament in an election last year.
He apologised in 2012 for breaking his promise on student charges, saying “I will never again make a pledge unless as a party we are absolutely clear about how we can keep it.”
Mr Clegg is joining a company that has apologised for its mistakes and has promised to do better on many occasions, for example for breaching its users’ trust.
“Throughout my public life I have relished grappling with difficult and controversial issues and seeking to communicate them to others,” Clegg said in a Facebook post.
“I hope to use some of those skills in my new role.”
Mr Clegg, a strong advocate of Britain’s membership of the EU, said it was a “wrench” to be leaving the public debate at a crucial time in Brexit, but added that key decisions would pass to parliament, of which he was no longer a member.
He will join his Liberal Democrat colleague Richard Allan at the social network.
Mr Allan, a member of parliament between 1997 and 2005, who now sits in the upper house, is Facebook’s vice president of public policy for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Mr Clegg has discussed online security and privacy, both when in office and more recently in newspaper articles.
“I’m not especially bedazzled by Facebook,” he said in an article in the London Evening Standard in 2016.
“While I have good friends who work at the company, I actually find the messianic Californian new-worldy-touchy-feely culture of Facebook a little grating.”
He also said he was not sure that companies such as Facebook really pay all the tax they could, although he added that was as much the fault of governments that still hadn’t got their tax act together.
Schrage, who led the social network’s response to its several scandals, stepped down from the role in June after a decade with the company.
Schrage will stay as an adviser, Facebook said.
Facebook has faced a barrage of criticism from users and lawmakers after it said in 2017 that Russian agents used its platform to spread disinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an accusation Moscow denies.
In March, the company faced new scrutiny over how it protects personal information after acknowledging that the data of up to 87 million people ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Deadly Zika Virus fast circulating in Kenya
The deadly Zika virus, which almost marred the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, has been detected in Kenya for the first time.
On Friday, local researchers said they have detected 33 Zika incidents in West Pokot County and one in Turkana County, the first ever recorded in Kenya.
The team from the Ministry of Health, the Nairobi-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe), Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology want measures put in place to prevent a possible outbreak.
The researchers in the study published in Virology Journal on Friday on May 17, 2019, said they had found evidence Zika virus has been circulating undetected in human populations in West Pokot and Turkana counties.
The team led by Edith Chepkorir of Icipe was hunting for yellow fever, dengue, West Nile and Zika viruses in the two counties.
The areas were being investigated because they border Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia where recent outbreaks of yellow fever and dengue have been reported, with possibility of spillover into Kenya.
In the study, they found all the four viruses present with Zika being recorded for the first time in Kenya.
The team had collected 877 samples from the two counties with 33 turning positive for Zika in West Pokot and one in Turkana.
“The results in the current study suggest circulation of Zika in both counties, yet there have never been reported or confirmed cases of Zika in Kenya,” the report notes.
The virus was first identified in a rhesus monkey in 1947 in the Zika forest in Uganda. Coincidentally, the new study says the Kenya cases were detected in an area called Kanyerus, West Pokot, which is very close to where the virus was first recorded in Uganda.
EFCC arrests 10 suspected Internet Fraudsters in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abuja Zonal office have arrested ten suspected internet scammers popularly known as “Yahoo Boys” at Favour Estate Land Estate, in Abuja.
They were arrested following a tip-off by an anonymous source.
Some of the items recovered from the suspects were exotic cars, laptops and smart phones.
A statement released by the antigraft agency gave the names of the suspects as Okorokpa Clifford, Ejechi Rukeme Clarence, Omoagbere Nelson, Olamide Agbi, Prosper Williams, Zhenom Moses, Nasiru Saudi Ali, Shakajede Okiemute, Okoro Andrew and Amorighoye Laju Precious.
Christchurch shootings: Court charges Mosque attacker with terrorism
The man accused of killing 51 people in the Christchurch mosques attack has been charged with terrorism, New Zealand police have said.
Brenton Tarrant was charged with “engaging in a terrorist act”, police said in a statement on Tuesday.
He is already facing charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder following the attack on two mosques in the South Island city on 15 March.
The Australian is next due in court in June.
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