Facebook: Nick Clegg says ‘no evidence’ of Russian interference in Brexit vote
There is “absolutely no evidence” Russia influenced the Brexit result using Facebook, the company’s vice-president, Sir Nick Clegg, has said.
The former deputy PM told the BBC the company had carried out analyses of its data and found no “significant attempt” by outside forces to sway the vote.
Instead, he argued that “the roots to British euroscepticism go very deep”.
the roots to British euroscepticism go very deep.
Clegg admitted he is a passionate remainer and wanted the results to go the other way.
‘Remainer Conspiracy to undermine democracy’
In the interview, Sir Nick dismissed claims that data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica influenced people’s decision to vote Leave in the EU referendum in 2016.
“Much though I understand why people want to sort of reduce that eruption in British politics to some kind of plot or conspiracy – or some use of new social media through opaque means – I’m afraid the roots to British Euroscepticism go very, very deep,” he said.
Instead, he argued attitudes had been influenced far more by “traditional media” over the last 40 years than by new media.
In a wide-ranging interview, Sir Nick also called for more regulation of Facebook and other tech giants.
Sir Nick, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats and deputy prime minister during the coalition government, was hired by Facebook in October last year.
Can Nick Clegg help Facebook grow up?
Regulate Facebook now, say UK MPs
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said Facebook was now arguing for greater regulation of tech firms.
He said there was a “pressing need” for new “rules of the road” on privacy, election rules, the use of people’s data and adjudicating on what constitutes hate speech.
It follows growing criticism of the tech giant and calls from MPs for far stricter regulation over issues including fake news, harmful content and the way user data is used.
Asked whether Facebook should not be fixing some of these issues itself, Sir Nick said it was not something big tech companies “can or should” do on their own.
“It’s not for private companies, however big or small, to come up with those rules. It is for democratic politicians in the democratic world to do so,” he said.
But he stressed companies like Facebook should play a “mature role” in advocating – rather than shunning – regulation.