NEWS24 June 2019

Clegg denies Facebook misuse impacted Brexit vote

Data analytics News North America Privacy Public Sector Technology UK

UK – The former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has claimed there is “no evidence” that Russia used Facebook to interfere with the EU referendum.

Cracked phone screen showing Facebook logo alonsgide laptop and glasses

Clegg, now head of global affairs at Facebook, dismissed allegations that the social media network had been used to influence the outcome of the Brexit vote.

Speaking during an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he claimed an investigation Facebook conducted itself showed no meddling from “outside forces”.

“We ran two full analyses of all the data we have in the run-up to the Brexit referendum, following exactly the same methodology as we did after the FBI notified Facebook of outside interference in the 2016 US presidential election,” said Clegg. “We’ve shared all this information with the select committee and Westminster and elsewhere. We have found no evidence of a significant attempt by outside forces.”

The former Lib Dem leader also called for more regulation of technology companies, saying it is not for private companies to decide what role the internet plays in society.

He said: “This is not something that big tech companies can or should do on their own … I want to see companies like Facebook play an increasingly mature role, not shunning regulation but actually advocating it in a sensible way.”

In February, the Culture, Media and Sport select committee published the findings of its investigation into disinformation, calling on the government to independently investigate foreign influence in past elections including the EU referendum. 


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