Nick Clegg, vice president for global affairs and communications at Meta Platforms, spoke at Lisbon’s Web Summit 2021 during a panel on Facebook and innovation in Europe.
The world’s biggest tech conference has returned to a physical setting following a two-year, COVID 19-induced virtual hiatus. The event is showcasing an illustrious list of entrepreneurs, organizations and influencers at the cutting edge of their respective fields and has — according to recent data compiled by the Web Summit communications team — attracted 42,751 attendees from 128 countries, 50.5% of which are female, the highest-ever participation by women in the event’s 10-year history.
Interviewed by Matthew Garrahan, news editor at the Financial Times, Clegg spoke with a sense of joviality and expressiveness, sharing a number of notable insights into the development and intended execution of Facebook’s new Meta project.
Clegg shared his personal belief of the importance that “we [Meta] were as open as possible and that we are not seeking to build the metaverse on our own. We are building for the metaverse,” before continuing:
“The Metaverse, I think many people might be relieved to know, is not going to be wholly owned, administered and orchestrated by Mark Zuckerberg and Meta.”
The former British politician, who served as leader of the Liberal Democratic party between 2007 and 2015 and deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom in a coalition government alongside David Cameron between 2010 and 2015, is most often considered an orange book liberal whose political inclinations align with choice and freedom in the private lives of individuals and in the market.
He shared a remark that stressed the cruciality of fostering collaboration in the pursuit of technological evolution:
“It was important for us to get out there as early as possible, and say the unlike previous technological eruptions which happened very suddenly and then, if you like, society, regulation and law breathlessly try to catch up later — which is perhaps part of the debate we’re having in the wake of the issues that Frances Haugen has brought to light — that this time we can do it the other way round.”
Facebook’s corporate pivot into the metaverse market at Facebook’s Connect conference on Thursday places it among blockchain platforms Axie Infinity, Decentraland and The Sandbox in building the architecture of virtual worlds for people to work, socialize and co-exist with the integration of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and other facets of the crypto sphere.