Facebook’s head of global affairs says some tech companies are an ‘exclusive club’, praises Facebook’s free business model

Facebook is built around a free business model for users, letting them access the social network without paying anything to do so. But that also means the company is pretty forthcoming with user data to third parties, too. At least one executive at Facebook doesn’t see this as a problem.

Business Insider has comments made by Facebook’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, who was speaking at an event in Berlin, Germany, today. Clegg sees Facebook as a tool for users, a powerful one at that, because it’s free. Meanwhile, Clegg believes “other big tech companies” are nothing more than an exclusive club because they sell expensive hardware and subscription services. Or, both, in some cases.

Facebook is free — it’s for everyone,” he said. “Some other big tech companies make their money by selling expensive hardware or subscription services, or in some cases both, to consumers in developed, wealthier economies. They are an exclusive club, available only to aspirant consumers with the means to buy high-value hardware and services.

So why do people use Facebook? Well, according to Clegg, “because they can”. Two billion people access Facebook from around the globe, according to the executive:

There’s no exclusivity at Facebook. No VIP access. No business class,” Clegg added. “Our services are as accessible to students in Guatemala, cattle farmers in the Midwest United States, office workers in Mumbai, tech startups in Nairobi, or taxi drivers in Berlin. More than 2 billion people use our platforms — because they can.

Facebook and Apple are going head-to-head in a silent war as of late. Both companies have seen executives come out in some fashion or another to comment on the other, because both business models are so wildly different. Facebook’s free policy means it has access to user data and information, which it then shares pretty freely after it obtains it. Apple, on the other hand, is resolutely focused on keeping user data secure for the individual.

Whether or not one is right really comes down to personal values, and what you expect from companies in 2019. What do you think in this case? Is Facebook’s Clegg making a solid argument here?