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Facebook vice president Andrew “Boz” Bosworth shared some startling views about the company’s data collection habit back in 2016 in an internal message to employees. Now that the old memo has come back to light, both Boz and fellow Facebook employees are commenting on the extreme, controversial stance.
The memo, titled “The Ugly,” talks about how Facebook’s end goal of connecting people isn’t always positive.
“We connect people. That can be good if they make it positive. Maybe someone finds love. Maybe it even saves the life of someone on the brink of suicide,” Boz wrote. “So we connect more people. That can be bad if they make it negative. 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.”
One former senior Facebook employee told BuzzFeed that the memo is “classic Boz“—that the executive is often blunt and polarizing, and that this was a post meant to “rally the troops.” However, in the context of the recent data collection scandal with Cambridge Analytica, the words seem far more ominous.
Boz has since commented on Twitter about the memo, claiming he didn’t agree with the words he published back then, and still does not. He has since deleted the original memo.
My statement on the recent Buzzfeed story containing a post I wrote in 2016 pic.twitter.com/lmzDMcrjv5— Boz (@boztank) March 29, 2018
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also commented on the two-year old memo.
“We’ve never believed the ends justify the means,” Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “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.”
Facebook staffers had a mixed reaction to Boz’s original memo, and many expressed disappointment in the fact that someone decided to leak it to the press. Some made a call for the company making integrity a higher priority in its hiring process; others posited that perhaps outside actors are playing a role in order to discredit and embarrass Facebook.
H/T The Next Web
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.