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Nick Clegg – once an up-and-coming British politician – is now the vice president for global affairs at Facebook. After having “met” him at Facebook’s recent virtual shareholder meeting, Scott Shepard – deputy director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project – has dubbed him “chief censor of Mark Zuckerberg’s increasingly censorious shop.”
In a Townhall commentary in which he provides a quick history of Clegg’s pre-Facebook political rise and fall, Scott notes the man is “posing as a moral guide” at the high-tech company.
But this, Scott explains, is “a position for which he is not qualified,” and “he is acting not in the interest of his supposed high principles, but to lend his moral sanction to tawdry dealings.”
While Clegg calls upon Washington to regulate in some ways that would face significant First Amendment scrutiny, he carefully avoids suggesting that it do anything that would undermine Facebook’s profit stream. He fails to admit that regulation helps to keep established businesses in place by raising the costs of competition, especially for startups.
While he claims to back reforms that have significant bipartisan support, he fails to advocate the two reform measures that capture the majority of attention and support of most Americans: stripping away the tech giants’ (including Facebook’s) monopoly power, and ending their biased repression of the speech of free Americans.
And while Clegg calls on Congress to enact privacy legislation, he fails to note that Facebook could vastly enhance its customers’ privacy options simply by allowing them to easily opt out of tracking done for the purpose of selling information to advertisers. Not only will Facebook not take that step, but it is fighting fiercely against moves by Apple and customer groups to push it in that direction.
Reiterating that Clegg “is wholly unsuited to patrol and confine American public speech,” Scott concludes:
It surely takes a unique mind to conclude that this distribution of responses suggests that Facebook is censoring in a nonpartisan way that receives broad bipartisan support.
To read all of Scott’s commentary – “Facebook Appoints Failed Lefty British Pol as Censor-in-Chief” – click here.
Author: David Almasi