Nick Clegg, Facebook’snewly installed head of global affairs and former UK deputy prime minister, has issued a spirited defence of the social media networks continued integrity amid growing calls for the service to be broken up.
Democratic heavyweights are increasingly coming round to the idea of enforcing a formal split of Facebook’s operations led by a dramatic break-up call issued by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes in the New York Times.
Responding to these calls on CNN’s State of the Union show over the weekend, Clegg described Facebook as a "great American success" but conceded that Hughes had "quite rightly highlighted… complex issues" such as fake news, privacy and election interference.
Clegg remarked: “… chopping a great American success story into bits is not something that’s going to make those problems go away.”
The political temperature is rising on Facebook with Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris coming round to the idea of a break-up, saying that politicians in the US will "have to seriously take a look" at the potential for break up.
Harris added: “I mean, when you look at the issue, [Facebook is] essentially a utility. There are very few people that can actually get by and be involved in their communities or society or in whatever their profession without somehow, somewhere using Facebook... it is essentially a utility that has gone unregulated. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s got to stop.”
US senator Elizabeth Warren ignited the break-up debate, first broaching the idea in March.