The 51-year-old politician, Sir Nick Clegg was leader of the Liberal Democrats and formed a coalition government with David Cameron and the Conservatives in 2010.
Facebook has faced intense scrutiny and the threat of government regulation following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and alleged election meddling.
Several prominent executives have left the company in the last year. Sir Nick’s new job title will be vice-president of global affairs and communications at Facebook.
He will start work on Monday and will spend a week at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters, before moving to California permanently in the new year.
Sir Nick told BBC media editor Amol Rajan he has been working on the frontier between technology and politics for the last few years.
“I thought, I could do this academically, as a commentator, running a start-up, but then I thought, in for a penny, in for a pound,” he explained.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were personally involved in the recruitment, the Financial Times reported.
In a statement, Sir Nick said he was delighted to join the company.
“Having spoken at length to Mark and Sheryl over the last few months, I have been struck by their recognition that the company is on a journey which brings new responsibilities not only to the users of Facebook’s apps but to society at large. I hope I will be able to play a role in helping to navigate that journey,” he wrote.
Sir Nick has previously written about Facebook for a number of UK newspapers.
In 2016, he wrote in the Evening Standard: “I’m not especially bedazzled by Facebook. While I have good friends who work at the company, I actually find the messianic Californian new-worldy-touchy-feely culture of Facebook a little grating.”
What does Facebook want Sir Nick for?
Analysis by Chris Fox, BBC technology reporter
Facebook has had a turbulent few years and is trying to get a grip on its policies and reputation. The Cambridge Analytica data scandal revealed that the personal information of millions of people had been misused, potentially influencing the results of elections.
The company has also removed “billions” of fake accounts, linked to the spread of fake news and disinformation, possibly connected to countries such as Russia and Iran.
Facebook hopes Sir Nick will challenge the company on its issues.
With his political experience as part of the UK government, and as a former MEP, he will also be well-placed to advise how to keep the regulators away.
In a Facebook post, Sheryl Sandberg said the company needed “new perspectives to help us though this time of change”.
Sir Nick is not the first Liberal Democrat to take a senior role at Facebook. Lord Allan of Hallam is currently the company’s public policy chief for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Who is Sir Nick Clegg?
Nick Clegg was a Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam from 2005 until 2017. In 2010, when he was leader of the Liberal Democrats, he became deputy prime minister in a coalition government with the Conservatives.
But he faced a backlash from his supporters when he broke a promise that he would vote against any rise in university tuition fees.
The Liberal Democrats lost a majority of their seats in the 2015 general election, ending up with just eight MPs, down from 57.
Although he had kept his own seat, Nick Clegg resigned as the party leader.
He lost his seat in the snap general election of 2017, but was given a knighthood in January 2018. In his statement announcing his new job at Facebook, he said it was “wrenching” to “leave the public debate at a crucial time in the Brexit process”.
“But the key decisions will soon pass to Parliament, of which I am no longer a member, and once I had decided to take up this unique new challenge at Facebook, I felt it was best to get going sooner rather than later,” he said.
Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s shadow minister for the cabinet office, said Sir Nick’s new job was “a damning indictment of the sorry state of our country’s politics”.
“At a time when digital giants such as Facebook are rightly coming under public scrutiny, our former deputy prime minister has been hired to lobby on their behalf.”
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