Facebook’s much-ridiculed attempt to rebrand dominated the internet discourse on Thursday. But there was an aspect of the name change and introduction of the “metaverse” that piqued the interest of the British.
While Mark Zuckerberg fronted the announcement, a familiar figure in the world of UK politics was acting as something of a hypeman.
Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister and ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats, is Facebook’s vice‑president for global affairs and communications, a well-remunerated role he picked up in 2018, three years after being voted out of parliament.
The metaverse isn’t something we’re building, so much as it’s something we’re building for. And we won’t be doing it on our own. We’ll work with experts outside the company to make sure it’s designed for safety and privacy and inclusion from the start. https://t.co/eW2qm9HSjY
— Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) October 28, 2021
His job was to explain how Facebook, despite accusations over its corrosive effect on democracy and the damage it is causing children, is A Good Thing. A tough job, but one that commands a £2.7 million salary.
Clegg’s starring role in the relaunch was brought to wider attention by journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who posted a clip of his stilted conversation with Zuckerberg
“Here he is allaying fears that the metaverse might destroy democracy or launch nuclear missiles from your toaster which of course it can’t,” she explains.
The whole presentation is worth watching in full for the complete mindfuck experience.
But @nickclegg is always a highlight. Here he is allaying fears that the metaverse might destroy democracy or launch nuclear missiles from your toaster which of course it can’t pic.twitter.com/lweZn1HUrN
— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) October 28, 2021
It begins with acting so wooden you’d be mistaken for thinking someone had thrown a chair into shot – “Hey Mark, I hope I’m not interrupting. You got a sec? I just love the presentation so far, it’s such visionary stuff…” – and doesn’t get much better.
His appearance brought together The Sun’s political editor and guitar legend Johnny Marr in a moment of shared second-hand embarrassment. In short, everyone was deeply unimpressed, and memories were soon being shared about how “Cleggmania” of 2010 gave way to his party’s U-turn on raising university tuition fees and signing off on Conservative austerity.
I got up early to go and vote for Nick Clegg in 2010 and now he is doing this video. To cleanse myself I’m gonna go watch the footage of him losing Sheffield Hallam in 2017. Might watch it a few times. https://t.co/Mr5UYDiEZj
— Sooz “Halloween” Kempner (@SoozUK) October 28, 2021
As the world goes to he’ll, one of my few consolidations is that I realised Nick Clegg was a dick in 2009, predicted he’d only get dickier and lo and behold, he’s gone full grade level 11 https://t.co/OswX4Kx8ei
— Otto English (@Otto_English) October 28, 2021
It’s truly remarkable that Nick Clegg’s reputation has deteriorated even further after the coalition years. I didn’t think that would be physically possible.
— Sam Bright (@WritesBright) October 29, 2021
2010s: an embarrassing, slavish fig leaf for a blue-blooded millionaire
2020s: an embarrassing, slavish fig leaf for a tech billionaire.
I will banish Clegg to the Phantom Zone!
— Count Binface (@CountBinface) October 29, 2021
Astonishing that Nick Clegg has done more damage to the credibility of politicians after leaving office than Johnson, Cummings, Corbyn and Cameron combined
— Luke Bailey (@imbadatlife) October 28, 2021
Just two straight up kinda guys bringing some good to the world.
— Johnny Marr (@Johnny_Marr) October 28, 2021