Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaving The Merrion Hotel in Dublin with as its head of global policy and communications Nick Clegg after a meeting with politicians to discuss regulation of social media and harmful content.
Niall Carson—PA Images via Getty Images
By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky
May 13, 2019

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Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, had zero experience as a corporate spokesman before taking the job. But he seems to have fit right in at the online publisher in terms of making side-stepping arguments that have the merit of being accurate if distracting.

Clegg wrote a response in The New York Times to the break-up-the-company bombshell dropped last week by Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder. Clegg makes the specious argument that because Facebook is a successful American company it shouldn’t be dismantled for having accumulated too much power. “Success should not be penalized,” writes Clegg, who also misstates the Hughes argument by declaring that U.S. antitrust laws “are not meant to punish a company because people disagree with its management.”

Nobody, including Hughes, has suggested Facebook is a menace due to some sort of disagreement with how Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and their merry crew of democracy- and publishing-industry vanquishers have managed their behemoth. The argument, instead, is that Facebook’s sheer size and demonstrated carelessness dictate that it be de-fanged a bit so it can do less harm. (Check out Alan Murray’s endorsement of the Hughes manifesto in CEO Daily, where Murray reveals the support for regulating Facebook among corporate bigwigs.)

In the acerbic words of Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who adds Donald Trump to the list of digital miscreants: “It’s time for all our social-media-addicted dictators—in the D.C. swamp and in Silicon Valley—to have their wings clipped.”

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I erred Friday by calling venture capitalist Andrew Chung’s new firm by the wrong name. It is 1955 Capital. My goof prompted me to ask Chung the significance of the year. He reports that “1955 is the year that one generation of revolutionaries gave way to another; Einstein died that year, as did Alexander Fleming (who discovered penicillin) and Charlie Parker. Born that year? Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and my old partner Vinod Khosla.”

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As some of you know, I ride a share bike to and from work every day—and a good many other places too. I love it. I love zipping by the cars, getting a tiny bit of exercise, and not getting stuck in traffic. Two medical centers in Wales think the health benefits of commuting by bike are so good that they’re offering to pick up the tab for their customers. I applaud them. That said, shame on The New York Times for illustrating its otherwise fine article about the offer with a photo of a London bikeshare rider without a helmet. Trading one health risk for another defeats the purpose.

Adam Lashinsky
@adamlashinsky
adam_lashinsky@fortune.com

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