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Facebook executive Nick Clegg. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

A top Facebook executive on Monday urged Europe and America to move towards regulating major internet companies — saying that if they don’t, the Chinese government will.

Why it matters: Policy and communications chief Nick Clegg’s comments delivered in Berlin are part of the social giant’s push to influence new regulations in areas like hateful content and data privacy.

  • In doing so, Facebook is putting some of the burden to address its problems on governments around the world as pressure mounts on the company to come up with its own solutions.

What he’s saying: According to Clegg’s prepared remarks, he will call this a “critical moment."

“As the tech lash dominates debate in the west, others are writing the new rules of the internet themselves. If we in Europe and America don’t turn off the white noise and begin to work together, we will sleepwalk into a new era where the internet is no longer a universal space but a series of silos where different countries set their own rules and authoritarian regimes soak up their citizens’ data while restricting their freedom.”

Between the lines: Clegg is using the specter of China’s internet censorship to put pressure on European and American regulators.

  • “The fact is there is no longer a single, unitary internet, but rather two ‘internets’, China and the rest of the world,” he said.

Clegg also said that Facebook “has not always thought deeply enough about how its services could be used – or indeed abused – by authoritarian regimes,” specifically referencing how the social network contributed to genocide in Myanmar.

  • “We didn’t foresee that, in countries like Myanmar, the tinder box of religious and ethnic tensions in these countries could catch alight on our platforms if we didn’t have adequate safety systems in place,” he said.

The bottom line: Facebook has aggressively made the case for regulation for months now — but global policymakers may not see the company has acting entirely in good faith when it stands to benefit from legislation it helps to craft.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

8 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.