Sunday 22 July 2018

Facebook executive ‘did not agree with provocative memo’

Andrew Bosworth said on Twitter he did not agree with the post that was leaked to Buzzfeed – even when he wrote it.

Andrew Bosworth speaking about the new Facebook messaging service in 2010 (Paul Sakuma/AP)
Andrew Bosworth speaking about the new Facebook messaging service in 2010 (Paul Sakuma/AP)

By Barbara Ortutay, Associated Press

Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth says he did not agree with a provocative memo leaked to Buzzfeed in which he describes the company’s mentality to grow and connect people at all costs.

Mr Bosworth, who goes by “Boz”, said on Twitter he did not agree with the post even when he wrote it.

In the 2016 internal memo titled “The Ugly”, he writes that “all the work we do in growth is justified”, even if it costs someone their life because they are exposed to bullies or die in a terrorist attack.

Mr Bosworth has been at Facebook since 2006 and serves as the company’s vice president in charge of the company’s virtual reality and augmented reality efforts.

Previously he was VP of ads and he helped create Facebook features such as Messenger, its news feed and groups.

He tweeted on Thursday he meant for the memo to be provocative and it was one of the most unpopular things he has written internally.

In a statement to Buzzfeed that Facebook confirmed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Mr Bosworth a “talented leader who says many provocative things”, but added the memo was something “most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly”.

We've never believed the ends justify the means Mark Zuckerberg

“We’ve never believed the ends justify the means,” Zuckerberg said in the statement. “We recognise that connecting people isn’t enough by itself.

“We also need to work to bring people closer together. We changed our whole mission and company focus to reflect this last year.”

Facebook is grappling with an unprecedented crisis as it continues to grapple with Russian elections-meddling through its platform and privacy scandals.

The company’s privacy practices have come under fire after Cambridge Analytica, a Trump-affiliated political consulting firm, got data inappropriately.

Days after these revelations, Facebook faced new questions about collecting call logs and information on text messages from Android devices.

The company still has not explained exactly why it need this data and what it did with it, saying only it was used to improve people’s experience on Facebook.

It is not clear how the data collection made Facebook users’ experience better on Android devices when Facebook could not get the same data from iPhones.

The website Ars Technica reported users who checked data gathered by Facebook on them found it had years of contact names, telephone numbers, call lengths and text messages.

Press Association

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