'Former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg claimed his new paymaster Facebook was the victim of an anti-digital 'techlash' today as he warned governments against action that let China dominate the internet.
The ex-Liberal Democrat leader, who shocked Westminster when he landed a £4million job as spin chief for the US social media giant last year, was responding to critics who believe the media behemoth should be broken up.
He warned those critics that it would not solve issues like privacy or alleged use of the platform to influence elections.
He used an interview with the BBC to dismiss claims Russia used it to influence the Brexit referendum, insisting there was 'no evidence' that it had happened.
‘I think the pendulum has swung really quite rapidly from the tech utopia, the tech euphoria of a few years ago when people like Mark Zuckerberg could do no wrong,' he said.
‘It’s now swung the other way to a sort of tech phobia where people like Mark Zuckerberg can do no right.
‘The danger is if that techlash topples from scepticism about tech into outright phobia of it, I think we end up with the risk that we throw the baby out with the bathwater and we make it almost impossible for tech to innovate properly.
‘Crucially, let's remember you have this battle for tech dominance between the United States and China. In China there is no compunction about how data is used, there is no worry about privacy legislation, data protection and so on.''
Read more: Nick Clegg denies he 'has been drinking the Facebook Kool Aid' as spin chief says claims the platform is victim of a 'techlash' and the calls to break it up are an 'overreaction'
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10 July 2019
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