Facebook is braced for a backlash ahead of launching a controversial new digital currency next week.

It has hired Ed Bowles, a top banking lobbyist from Standard Chartered, months after former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg joined, as it faces greater political and regulatory scrutiny in Europe over the plans.

There is concern tech giants will use online currencies and related products to avoid regulation.

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has met Bank of England governor Mark Carney to discuss the plans to launch an online payments network allowing 2.4bn customers to send money and make instant payments across Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and shops on the internet.


The social media giant has enlisted more than a dozen tech companies to back the move.

More details of the currency will be announced on Tuesday.

Experts question whether Facebook will be able to comply with strict money laundering rules that banks and other financial institutions have to follow. Bowles starts at Facebook in September as public policy director for north Europe.