• Facebook not used to influence Brexit vote
  • Regulation is a “pressing need,” says Nick Clegg
  • British Euroscepticism existed well before Facebook

Facebook logo on phone PixieMe Shutterstock

Facebook confirms “no evidence” on Brexit influence 

Source: PixieMe Shutterstock

Facebook head of communications Nick Clegg has dismissed allegations that the social media network was used to help influence the Brexit referendum result. 

The social media giant has come under scrutiny by Brexit opponents questioning what role Russian forces played in the Brexit vote through the promotion of stories online using Facebook to push issues including immigration to sway opinion.

Speaking during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Clegg argued that Facebook and other technology firms required greater regulation.

He said there was a “pressing need” for new rules and regulation, notably on privacy, election rules and on the use of people’s data as well as what constitutes hate speech.

He said: “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.”

Clegg explained how he can understand why the British public wanted to hold Facebook responsible, particularly after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, however, he added the roots of British Euroscepticism existed long before Facebook launched, according to a report by Reuters.

He said: “I understand why people want to sort of reduce that eruption in British politics to some kind of plot or conspiracy - or some use of new social media through opaque means.”

Clegg was UK deputy prime minister from 2010 to 2015 and a strong campaigner to remain in the European Union.

He said any claim that that data was used in the Brexit referendum was also false and argued attitudes had been influenced far more by “traditional media” over the last 40 years than by new media.

The BBC reported, that when as asked whether Facebook should not be fixing some of these issues itself, Clegg said it was not something big technology companies “can or should” do on their own.

He added: “It’s not for private companies, however big or small, to come up with those rules. It is for democratic politicians in the democratic world to do so.”

But stressed companies like Facebook should play a “mature role” in advocating regulation.

Read more Zuckerberg concedes Facebook regulation