Sep 12, 2019

Facebook's Nick Clegg warns of a "fracturing of the global internet"

Nick Clegg in Dublin in April. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Sir Nick Clegg — former U.K. deputy prime minister, now Facebook V.P. of global affairs and communications — argued in New Delhi on Thursday that government overreach against Big Tech would further balkanize the internet.

What he's saying: "If we in open, democratic societies don’t work together," Clegg said, "we risk sleepwalking 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."

  • "[T]here is no longer a single, unitary internet, but rather two 'internets' — China, and the rest of the world. The Great Firewall of China means great swaths of what we think of as the internet — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp included — are unreachable by its citizens."

The decisions India makes, Clegg continued, "will likely do more to shape the global internet — or end it — than those made by any other country."

  • "Between these two great nations, China and India, a third of the world’s population would be detached from the rest of the global internet."
  • "And in a few short years there may not be such a thing as a global internet at all."

Go deeper: A world and web divided

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Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

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The latest: Law enforcement in Washington, D.C., and Dallas, Texas, spent Monday night kettling in crowds that were protesting Floyd's death.

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Screenshot: Axios (via YouTube)

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Why it matters: Cisco joins Sony, Electronic Arts and Google in delaying tech events planned for this week.

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Why it matters: It's the latest example of social media being used to exploit and sharpen the very real divisions in American society. It's also the latest example of Twitter more aggressively rooting out false information on its platform.