“Speaking at an event in Berlin, Facebook’s Nick Clegg indirectly accused Apple of being biased towards ‘aspirant consumers'”
That Facebook and Apple do not really see eye to eye is no new development — Apple has repeatedly criticised Facebook for its security gaffes, while Facebook has been critical of Apple’s business policies. Now, at an event in Berlin, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, has taken an indirect dig at Apple for being an “exclusive club,” primarily owing to the latter’s high pricing of devices that automatically position the brand and its products a notch above the mainstream.
Reported by Business Insider, Clegg seemingly said at his speech, “Facebook is free — it’s for everyone. 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.“
Defending his stance, he went on to describe how Facebook is built for everyone, and stands for the ideals of being a product for whoever wishes to use it. He stated, “There’s no exclusivity at Facebook. No VIP access. No business class. 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.“
The argument is not a particularly new one and its critical validation has been much debated. While Facebook has undeniably played a part in enabling communication for billions across the world without charging a penny, it has received sharp criticism for doing so at the cost of compromising private data of its users in exchange for an advertisement-support revenue model. As a result, it can be perceived that while there is no monetary expense in being a part of the Facebook ecosystem, users eventually end up paying for it by selling information such as what services they use, what they shop for on the internet and so on, and that too without complete knowledge of it.
Apple, on the other hand, has been an advocate for privacy, and has taken multiple digs at fellow big tech companies for their lacklustre security standards. Given that it has almost always priced its hardware at a considerably higher point, it is debatable whether Clegg’s argument on Apple being an “exclusive club” would stand valid — after all, it would be wrong to accuse Apple for pricing its own product at a point that it deems fit, just as Facebook is free to offer its product for “free.”