Facebook has hired former Lib Dem leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg.
The ex-Sheffield Hallam MP has joined the social network as Vice President of global affairs and communications team.
Sir Nick starts in his new job on Monday in the firm’s Silicon Valley HQ at Menlo Park, but will return to London at weekends until his wife and two children make the move to California in the new year.
He’ll replace Elliot Schrage, who recently announced he would be leaving the job after a decade at the tech giant, and will stay on in an advisory role.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg were deeply involved in the hiring process, and both spent a lot of time with Sir Nick after making contact over the summer. He will report to Ms Sandberg.
It will make Sir Nick the most senior European politician to ever take up senior executive leadership role in Silicon Valley.
Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Jon Trickett said: “It is a damning indictment of the sorry state of our country’s politics that, at a time when digital giants such as Facebook are rightly coming under public scrutiny, our former Deputy Prime Minister has been hired to lobby on their behalf.
“Labour is committed to slamming shut the revolving door between politics and big business, which for too long has corroded public trust in politics.”
The appointment comes at a time when the world’s largest social network is facing criticism from users and lawmakers following scandals about privacy and election meddling.
The Mirror understands Facebook chose Sir Nick for the role to bring an outside perspective dealing with the firm’s policy and reputation issues.
In a statement on his Facebook Page, Sir Nick said the move was “an exciting new adventure” and leaving before Brexit would be “a wrench”.
He said: “Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Oculus and Instagram are at the heart of so many people’s everyday lives – but also at the heart of some of the most complex and difficult questions we face as a society: the privacy of the individual; the integrity of our democratic process; the tensions between local cultures and the global internet; the balance between free speech and prohibited content; the power and concerns around artificial intelligence; and the well-being of our children.
“I believe that Facebook must continue to play a role in finding answers to those questions – not by acting alone in Silicon Valley, but by working with people, organisations, governments and regulators around the world to ensure that technology is a force for good.
“I am looking forward to being part of this endeavour.”
Sir Nick’s predecessor as MP for Sheffield Hallam, Richard Allan – now a Lib Dem peer – also works for Facebook as their policy chief for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Earlier this week the social network introduced new rules around political advertising in the UK, requiring anyone who wants to post political ads to verify their identity and location, and added the UK to its library of political adverts which also includes the US and Brazil.
And yesterday the social network has revealed that in September, in the run-up to elections in both Brazil and the US, it created a physical room at its Menlo Park campus from where it says its elections interference prevention experts can work together.
Facebook has been repeatedly accused of failing to adequately prevent previous efforts to meddle in elections, something the company itself has also admitted.
Director of product management for civic engagement Samidh Chakrabarti said the company would continue to invest in security in an attempt to stay ahead of “adversaries”.
“The work we are doing in the war room builds on almost two years of hard work and significant investments, in both people and technology, to improve security on Facebook, including during elections,” he said.