BERLIN — A senior Facebook Inc.

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  executive took a veiled shot at Apple Inc.

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 , continuing the sniping between the tech giants as their business models are under increasing scrutiny from global regulators.

In a speech Monday at the Hertie School of Governance in the German capital, Facebook vice president of global affairs and communications Nick Clegg criticized other large tech companies for selling expensive hardware and catering to what he called an “exclusive club” of wealthy consumers.

Clegg, the former U.K. deputy prime minister, argued that criticisms about tailored advertising on the social network fail to underscore that the product remains free for users, unlike products offered by Silicon Valley rivals.

Previously: Tech needs to clean up its own mess, Apple CEO Tim Cook tells Stanford grads

“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,” Clegg said. “They are an exclusive club, available only to aspirant consumers with the means to buy high-value hardware and services.” By contrast, he said, “Facebook was founded on a simple principle: We want to connect the world. And you don’t do that by charging for admission.”

An expanded version of this report appears on

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