Political positions in social media

Sir Nick Clegg and Ed Bowles join facebook in Public Affairs and Public Policy roles.


Facebook have hired Standard Chartered’s public and regulatory affairs chief Ed Bowles as its Northern European Public Policy Director. With the social media giant facing a storm of issues from regulators, getting the best policy people in place is paramount.  


Political hires


The FT also reported that Facebook in January hired former U.K. deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, to head its global affairs and communications team. Sir Nick’s hiring has been seen by many as Silicon Valley trying to build bridges with the EU at the highest level. Sir Nick, prior to being Deputy Prime Minister, had senior roles within the European Parliament and was a top European Commission trade negotiator.


The major issues that Facebook will face will be in data privacy, online disinformation and hate speech. This, at a time of major political upheaval, will see a new wave of SPADS and potentially civil servants leaving over the summer to take up new roles in industry. 


People and Performance


There are a number of high-profile corporates that are looking to recruit senior figures with political and policy backgrounds. With a new UK leader, to be announced, and EU leader, Ursula von der Leyen,  there will be pressure to understand their positions on the negotiations and the future of the EU project.


Agencies would also be wise to look at how this plays out in their world. One of the hires of the last half decade has been that of Craig Oliver.  It is rumoured that he has been the one that has helped stabilise a number of key accounts for the US headquartered CEO advisory firm.  It’s a delicate balancing act getting the right person with the right capability into these roles so they don’t become the story in their own right.


With ‘Lobbying’ still very much in the spot light, Cambridge Analytica and the Bell Pottinger fiasco in South Africa, the industry needs to uphold the highest ethical standards.