Facebook’s 2018 is not about to get any better.
Recently, the social media giant came under fire for its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal where millions of Facebook users’ data was used without consent. Now, a shocking 2016 memo by Facebook Vice President Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth is in the spotlight for stating the company only cares about “connecting people” even if it costs someone their life.
“We connect people. Period. That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it,” Bosworth wrote.
Bosworth justified the company’s “questionable contact importing practices” by stating all they essentially do is connect people regardless of the means used.
In the memo, titled “The Ugly”, Bosworth concedes adding users to the social media platform also increases considerable risks and Facebook may eventually be used by terrorist to plan attacks but all that is “de facto” good because they connect people.
“Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools and still we connect people… The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good,” read the memo.
He also talks about how it is not necessary to be the “best product” to win but only the “most used product,” hinting the Facebook executives were aware of the extent a security breach can hurt its users but rather than worrying about providing the best possible data safety measures, the company’s priority was to add more people to the social media platform, to be more successful.
Facebook employees know Bosworth for his bluntness but in light of recent controversy surrounding the social media behemoth, the memo sheds light on a possibly deeper problem within the company in the way it handles user information and possible manipulation of users.
“He is definitely a guy who isn't very diplomatic — he'd blunder into internal debates and internal comms would tend to keep an eye on what he's doing and posting. The memo is classic Boz because it speaks to the majority of Facebook employee views but it's also polarizing. Tonally he doesn't mince words. This is clearly a post meant to rally the troops,” said one former Facebook employee.
Bosworth has released a statement with regards to the memo he wrote. “It was supposed to be provocative,” he tweeted.
My statement on the recent Buzzfeed story containing a post I wrote in 2016 pic.twitter.com/lmzDMcrjv5— Boz (@boztank) March 29, 2018
"why did you write a post you don't agree with?" It was intended to be provocative. This was one of the most unpopular things I’ve ever written internally and the ensuing debate helped shape our tools for the better.— Boz (@boztank) March 29, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg backed up Bosworth while distancing himself from the memo and the practice suggestion it entails.
"We've never believed the ends justify the means. We recognize 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,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.
He simultaneously backed Bosworth as a “talented leader who says many provocative things” but added that the memo was “something that most people at Facebook,” including Zuckerberg, “strongly disagreed with.”
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