Nick Clegg defends Facebook's use of data

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

Sir Nick Clegg has defended Facebook’s use of data as he called for technology firms and politicians to work together to regulate social media.

His speech, made last night in his new role as the social network’s head of global affairs, came as an MP called for the creation of a new regulator to police social media.

Damian Collins, the chair of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said that a regulator could take action in cases like the suicide of Molly Russell, 14.

Her parents have blamed her death on disturbing images she saw on Facebook owned Instagram.

At a speech made in Brussels ast night, the former deputy prime minister said while Facebook’s growth means it has “undoubtedly made mistakes”, the site has learned some “hard lessons” and is now entering a new phase of “reform, responsibility and change”.

"Everyone has a role in this. Facebook doesn’t have all the answers,” he said. “But nor do governments or regulators either. We must learn from each other and work together.

“I know there are few debates that are as important as this. The time is ripe to bring together the best ideas from Europe, from Silicon Valley and beyond, to set the rules for an internet that works for all.”

On the platform’s use of data and advertising, he argued that Facebook wanted its services to be available to all, and an advertising-based model allowed that over a subscription-based model, which he said would leave some users behind.

“Our choice of business model carries with it serious legal and ethical obligations – it means we have to be transparent with people about what information we collect and why,” he said. “It means giving people control over the ads they see and helping users to understand the choice they’re making. We’re constantly looking to improve on both counts.”