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Meta Promotes Former British MP Nick Clegg to Key Role Shaping its Broader Narrative, and Responding to Concerns



Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps

Meta has made a key announcement as part of its ongoing effort to better ingratiate itself with world leaders, and avoid potential legal challenges and restrictive regulation, with current Vice‑President for Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg promoted to a new role which will give him more responsibility for shaping the company’s outreach and communications in this respect.

As explained by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

“I’ve asked Nick Clegg to take on a new position as President, Global Affairs. For the last three years, Nick has managed some of the most complex issues our company faces – including content policy, elections, the establishment of the Oversight Board, and more. Nick will now lead our company on all our policy matters, including how we interact with governments as they consider adopting new policies and regulations, as well as how we make the case publicly for our products and our work.”

As Zuckerberg notes, Clegg, who once served as the Deputy Prime Minister in the UK, has been Meta’s front man in explaining its position on various challenging elements. Clegg has become known for his long op-eds and blog posts, which seek to re-frame certain narratives. And while there’s an undeniable credibility to having such a high profile former politician as its spokeperson on such matters, there have also been questions about Meta’s approach, as it leans into politicization and spin, as part of its PR effort.

Indeed, a key concern in this respect is that by appointing a career politician (Clegg served as a British MP for 12 years), that then changes the motivations for Meta’s PR outreach and disclosure, because the motivations for a politician are very different to those normally adopted by a private company in this respect.

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For a politician, all PR is about winning, about framing the opposition as negative, and diluting their points, while also highlighting the positives of your own policies and stances, generally in a totally biased and specifically angled way.

For Meta, that’s not necessarily a good thing, because that could then lead to it downplaying negative reports and insights, in order to ‘win’ by showcasing benefits, or at the least, watering down such criticism.


In Meta’s case, in operating the biggest inter-connected network of humans in history, it has huge potential to influence key elements, and cause seismic shifts in the political landscape, while also facilitating misinformation and other potential harms on a massive scale.

We know this, and we also know that Clegg’s position on such thus far has indeed been to play it down, and point to conflicting evidence as a means to deflect responsibility and counter scrutiny.

Is that a good thing? Should Meta be looking to deflect and redirect, when it could be taking a deeper look at its operations instead, and addressing these key concerns, rather than avoiding them?

That’ll be an even bigger question in the coming metaverse shift, with many people already raising concerns about the potential harms of harassment and abuse in these more immersive digital spaces. If anything, Meta’s tools will likely have even more impact moving forward, and as such, it will need to be held accountable, and pushed to address these issues, rather than minimizing them as it seeks to dominate the next tech space.

Meta wants to ‘move fast’ and ‘build awesome things’, but that also requires deeper consideration of the impacts of such too, and while Clegg may be good at rebutting claims, that may not be the best approach.

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But Meta is also a private company, and as such, it can take whatever approach it deems fit in countering such narratives.

Zuckerberg says that Clegg’s new appointment will enable him to focus more energy on leading the company, while it will also support CTO Sheryl Sandberg as she continues to focus on other elements, as opposed to both being called upon to defend Meta’s position.

So expect more long essays from Clegg explaining why theories about Meta’s negative influence are wrong, and why the metaverse will be really, really good, despite concerns.


Which, to me at least, is definitely a concern in itself.

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Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs



Meta Announces WhatsApp Cloud API to Provide Hosting Support for SMBs

After previewing the option back in 2020, today, at its first-ever ‘Conversations’ messaging conference, Meta has announced that it’s launching the WhatsApp Cloud API, which will provide free, secure cloud hosting services for businesses.

As it sounds, the WhatsApp Cloud API will essentially host your conversation data on Meta’s servers, which will improve connection and speed, but will come with a degree of privacy trade-off.

The main benefits will be improved speed in messaging response, while it’ll also help to eliminate server expenses, which could be a big benefit to smaller businesses, in particular. It’ll also facilitate faster access to new WhatsApp business features as they become available.

The downside is that it will mean more reliance on Meta, while you’ll also need to dilute WhatsApp’s messaging security measures:

As Meta described in its original announcement:

If a business chooses to use a third-party vendor to operate the WhatsApp Business API on their behalf, we do not consider that to be end-to-end encrypted since the business you are messaging has chosen to give a third-party vendor access to those messages. This will also be the case if that third-party vendor is Facebook.”

As such, WhatsApp will include new notifications on consumer-to-business exchanges conducted through Meta hosting.

WhatsApp message prompts

How you feel about such trade-offs will come down to your personal perspective, but the offering could be highly valuable for smaller businesses looking to build out their tech stack, without having to sign on to a third-party hosting vendor, or buy their own hardware.

But again, that does also mean increasing your reliance on Meta, which has notoriously changed the rules on businesses in the past, leaving many in the lurch.

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The real benefit, however, will likely be in developing regions, where WhatsApp is the dominant messaging platform, and many small businesses are looking for ways to maximize their reach and transactions in-app. If Meta can assist them in building their business, that could be a big step in making WhatsApp a more critical utility, for many more users, while also, eventually, providing a direct revenue pathway for the messaging platform.

Though it does feel like a bit of a honey trap. Meta has already flagged that it will eventually introduce charges for these additional elements, without specifically outlining what those costs will be. Once businesses are reliant on such, it’ll be too late to back out, and Meta could ensnare them via incremental increases, that may eventually become a big earner for the company.

On another front, Meta also announced Recurring Notifications on Messenger, which will enable businesses to re-engage people within a messaging thread. The feature is only available to premium users at present, which doesn’t cost more to be part of right now, but will in future as Meta looks to incorporate new charges for its messaging and hosting tools.

You can check out replays of the Conversations conference presentations here.

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