Final spring, Chris Cox, the chief product officer of Fb, was promoted to additionally oversee WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. It appeared, on the time, nearly like succession planning. If Mark Zuckerberg had been to ever go away the corporate, Cox, his longtime confidante, and a consultant of the engineering and product facet, can be set as much as run it.
However right this moment Cox has introduced that, after 13 years on the firm, he’s leaving. “For over a decade, I’ve been sharing the same message that Mark and I have always believed: social media’s history is not yet written, and its effects are not neutral. It is tied up in the richness and complexity of social life. As its builders we must endeavor to understand its impact — all the good, and all the bad — and take up the daily work of bending it towards the positive, and towards the good. This is our greatest responsibility,” he wrote.
Cox has been a beloved worker on the firm: main orientations for brand spanking new staff and serving to set the corporate’s product technique in all methods. He was a relaxed presence in a chaotic place and staff jokingly referred to him as “The Ryan Gosling of Facebook Product.” He was one of the primary 15 engineers on the firm—again when it was nonetheless referred to as “The Facebook”—and he helped design the early variations of NewsFeed, Facebook’s most vital product. He managed human relations early on, which was possible good coaching for his later job of managing relations with a restive information business. Final 12 months, he sat for a long interview with WIRED and defined the complexities of how the corporate polices faux information and hate speech, one of Facebook’s prime priorities for 2018.
It appeared, for years, that Cox and Zuckerberg noticed eye to eye on almost every part. However there’s a suggestion in Cox’s assertion that, maybe, a serious current resolution drove them aside.
Final week, Mark Zuckerberg revealed a manifesto about privacy that supplied up a new direction for the company, one primarily based on encrypted messaging and the interoperability of all of the messaging platforms that Cox oversees. And inside of Cox’s assertion there’s a trace that which may have impressed right this moment’s announcement. “As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network. It’s a product vision attuned to the subject matter of today: a modern communications platform that balances expression, safety, security, and privacy. This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through.”
This actually feels like Cox is saying that he isn’t completely excited to see this challenge via.
And Zuckerberg could have hinted at this, too, in an interview with WIRED final week. When requested about shifting focus at an organization as massive as Fb, Zuckerberg responded, “There’s a lot of work that goes into getting the teams aligned and getting the right leaders in place who believe in these priorities, and being able to execute on that.”
After unifying all of Facebook’s merchandise beneath Cox a 12 months in the past, Fb said it might now break up them aside beneath separate leaders, just like how they’d been arrange earlier than. Will Cathcart, who had been in cost of the Fb app, will now run WhatsApp. Fidji Simo, who had been operating the Fb app whereas Cathcart was out on paternity go away, will tackle that job full time. Adam Mosseri will proceed to run Instagram. And Stan Chudnovsky will proceed to run Messenger. Zuckerberg stated that he wouldn’t fill Cox’s job, and that these division heads will report on to him.
This can be a creating story and will probably be up to date as extra data is available in.