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Opinion
Parmy Olson

Zuckerberg Still Has Too Much Control of Facebook

Promoting Nick Clegg masks the founder’s tight grip on voting shares and Meta’s tepid response to metaverse safety issues.

Mark Zuckerberg trailed by Nick Clegg after a 2019 meeting with politicians in Ireland.

Mark Zuckerberg trailed by Nick Clegg after a 2019 meeting with politicians in Ireland.

Photographer: Niall Carson - PA Images/PA Images

Facebook has always been good at telling a story. After a whistle-blower revealed astonishing harm caused by the company’s products to the mental health of teens and others across the world, the company changed its name and got everyone talking about the metaverse instead. Now Mark Zuckerberg has announced that his top policy executive, Nick Clegg, is being promoted and taking over the tough job of navigating an upcoming legal and regulatory minefield. The new story: Zuckerberg is relinquishing control and allowing Meta Platforms Inc. (Facebook) to be steered by a sophisticated public-policy savant.    

But this announcement is actually doing two things. Yes, it is handing off much of Zuckerberg’s responsibility around policy, relieving him of uncomfortable duties like answering to lawmakers and allowing him to focus on building and monetizing the immersive world he wants us all to one day inhabit. Zuckerberg has grown noticeably tired of apologizing for Facebook’s noxious side effects and has spent much of the past year in his Hawaii compound. He publicly ignored the whistle-blower’s disclosures for weeks, permitting Clegg to take those slings and arrows.