But this announcement is definitely doing two issues. Yes, it’s handing off a lot of Zuckerberg’s accountability round coverage, relieving him of uncomfortable duties like answering to lawmakers and permitting him to give attention to constructing and monetizing the immersive world he desires us all to at some point inhabit. Zuckerberg has grown noticeably drained of apologizing for Facebook’s noxious uncomfortable side effects and has spent a lot of the previous yr in his Hawaii compound. He publicly ignored the whistle-blower’s disclosures for weeks, allowing Clegg to take these slings and arrows.
It additionally creates an phantasm that another person would possibly take a unique line on coverage. Why else give them extra sway? “We need a senior leader at the level of myself,” Zuckerberg wrote of Clegg in a Facebook put up on Wednesday evening.
But Clegg was already probably the most senior coverage official at Facebook. He will go from reporting to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief working officer, to reporting to each Sandberg and Zuckerberg — and he was already within the room with each. This isn’t a lot a step up as shifting an inch nearer to the one that is basically within the driver’s seat.
While the founders of different profitable know-how firms like Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. have stepped apart, the one that based Facebook 18 years in the past nonetheless controls 58% of voting shares and stays chairman. Shareholder makes an attempt to curb that tight grip have failed, due to a loyal board of administrators. Zuckerberg’s high lieutenants, together with Clegg, show that very same form of loyalty.
Although Clegg did play a key half in establishing Facebook’s Oversight Board, whose effectiveness continues to be being confirmed out, it’s laborious to see him utilizing his newfound place to take the corporate in a more healthy course with regulators by hashing it out with Zuckerberg. That is actually not what number of political historians keep in mind Clegg’s relationship with Prime Minister David Cameron, for whom he arguably acted extra like a sidekick than a coalition accomplice.(1)
What’s actually troubling for Meta is that with the intention to make a hit of the metaverse, Zuckerberg might want to roll up his sleeves and dive deeply into the general public coverage work that he loathes. Already one of probably the most urgent, new points he’s going through revolves round coverage and human habits: There have been a number of incidents of harassment of ladies on Meta’s social metaverse platform Horizon Venues, together with an incident of digital groping and one of digital gang rape.
Microsoft Corp. has already given a masterclass on the best way to reply: on Wednesday it introduced a collection of measures to handle harassment by itself metaverse platforms, utterly shutting down three of its essential social VR apps, together with a refined, widespread zone for assembly up and enjoying video games with strangers known as Campfire. It’s additionally turning on security bubbles for all its digital actuality guests by default, boosting moderators and robotically muting anybody who attends an occasion.
Facebook’s efforts to handle metaverse security look tepid as compared. Following the stories of harassment, it launched an choice to dam avatars from coming inside a two-foot radius of a consumer’s personal avatar. Blocking instruments actually have some promise, however they’ve been trialed in gaming and might be misused as a blockade towards others. A extra critical try at establishing security as a norm can be to close down Meta’s social VR platforms — as Microsoft did — and re-design them with security in thoughts.
But there’s a scant chance that Nick Clegg will push for large reforms like that. So lengthy as Zuckerberg maintains his present stage of management, anticipate the established order to proceed.
More From accuratenewsinfo Opinion:
• Facebook’s Growth Is within the Rear-View Mirror: Parmy Olson
• Meta’s ‘Metamates’ Are In for a Rough Voyage: Mark Gongloff
• Facebook and Spotify Share Similar Nightmares: Leonid Bershidsky
(1) It is telling that on Wednesday Facebook additionally introduced a brand new head of public relations who had comparatively littlePR expertise, however a background of engaged on competitors points on the firm. This means that publicly, Facebook is gearing as much as make an aggressive case towards antitrust regulators this yr and subsequent.
This column doesn’t essentially mirror the opinion of the editorial board or accuratenewsinfo LP and its house owners.
Parmy Olson is a accuratenewsinfo Opinion columnist protecting know-how. She beforehand reported for the Wall Street Journal and Forbes and is the writer of “We Are Anonymous.”