It’s all kicking off as Nick Clegg defends Facebook against Remainer ‘conspiracy theory’

Nick Clegg
John Shafthauer

The data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) has been accused of influencing the 2016 US election (although some claim its impacts have been exaggerated). There have also been investigations into CA’s role in using Facebook to influence the 2016 Brexit referendum. This has now led to an interesting situation in which Nick Clegg is defending Facebook against his fellow Remainers.

“No evidence”

Nick Clegg took a job as Facebook’s head of global affairs and communications in October 2018. Appearing on BBC Radio 4 Today on 24 June, Clegg said:

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.

Yes, Facebook has a heavy responsibility to protect the integrity of elections from outside interference. I also think we have a duty to explain fact from some of the allegations that have been made.

Presenter Nick Robinson put it to Clegg:

You are saying that for all those people who may share your view, and think that Cambridge Analytica was one reason this referendum was lost by the Remain side; you’re saying, myth. Not true. Conspiracy theory.

Clegg answered:


He went on to say:

I’m someone who was debating with Nigel Farage before Facebook was invented. And much though I understand why people want to… reduce that… eruption in British politics to some kind of plot or conspiracy, or some use of new social media through opaque means, I’m afraid the roots to British Euroscepticism go very, very deep. And candidly, over the last 40 years, have been much more influenced by traditional media than they have by the new media.

It’s all kicking off

Clegg has received a lot of online criticism for the interview:

David Lammy accused Facebook of hosting ‘Russian state media’:


Clegg has also received some support – notably from Leave.EU:

Although Leave.EU was accused of working with Cambridge Analytica to influence Brexit, a November 2018 report from the Information Commissioner’s Office found:

both parties stated that only preliminary discussions took place, and the relationship did not move forward when Leave.EU failed to attain the designation as the official Leave campaign4 …

Based on our enquiries, testimony and interviews, we conclude that this is indeed the case – there is no evidence of a working relationship between CA and Leave.EU proceeding beyond this initial phase.

However, AggregateIQ – a firm linked to Cambridge Analytica – did provide services to the official campaign Vote Leave. These services included targeted ads on Facebook.


While Facebook has a serious trust issue, so too does Clegg. This is especially true on Brexit. Although the overall effects of groups like CA remain unclear, research has shown that austerity served as the “main driver behind leave vote”. As one of the architects of austerity, Clegg should really be answering for his own actions rather than the people who are now paying him.

Featured image via YouTube


Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support
  • Show Comments
    1. get rid of facebook, google and log out of youtube you will never regret it. I use Duck Duck Go as my search engine which is far better than google and I deleted facebook after being attacked for voting remain and i haven’t looked back since. If you go online and search for how to rid yourself of google, there’s plenty of advice and instructions, I don’t even use google servers as I tell my router to use free privacy conscious ones instead.

      Your data is not a commodity to be sold to the highest bidders, take back control and tell them to sod off

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.