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Facebook's Nick Clegg proposes U.S. digital regulator

The former U.K. deputy prime minister floated an idea that has been discussed worldwide as part of his latest call for internet rules

​Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg, a top Facebook policy official, said U.S. lawmakers could consider an agency in charge of content, data and other digital issues.

Image: Chatham House / Protocol

Facebook's vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, suggested Monday that U.S. lawmakers could create a new digital regulator to oversee issues like content policy and data.

Clegg, a former U.K. deputy prime minister, wrote in an op-ed for CNBC about four areas where he thought lawmakers could come to an agreement: responsibility for removing illegal content, privacy, transparency around influence operations and the ability to move data between sites. Then he added that the U.S. also "could create" an internet regulator.

"It would be able to join the dots between issues like content, data, and economic impact — much like the Federal Communications Commission has successfully exercised regulatory oversight over telecoms and media," Clegg wrote.

The idea of digital agency has been discussed worldwide. But policymakers in the U.S. have come to little agreement on its scope and connection to existing regulators and enforcement, such as the FCC or the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees privacy and competition.

As Facebook faces increased regulatory scrutiny, it has repeatedly called for rules that would standardize the internet economy, export U.S. values and take the burden off of companies to make decisions themselves. Some smaller companies say that Facebook hopes to write rules that would impair rivals.

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