Facebook execs defend selves after 'ends justify the means' memo

03 April, 2018, 05:11 | Author: Elena Summers
  • It’s Time to Make Our Privacy Tools Easier to Find

" He is seen as an outspoken figure at Facebook, the outlet reported, known for being blunt".

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.

"This was one that most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly", Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed. In the wake of Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which an outside company was able to exploit the private data of 50 million Facebook users, Bosworth's Machiavellian stance that the company is still "de facto good" suggests that Facebook leadership did not prioritize the safety of the people it was "connecting".

"We've never believed the ends justify the means", Mr Zuckerberg said in a statement to BuzzFeed.

Facebook was also blasted with negative attention past year over criticism of how it handled Russia-linked ads aimed to sow division in the USA election and former employees such Chamath Palihapitiya saying that it had pursued growth while the "short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works".

Mr Bosworth, known as Boz, said this justified "questionable contact importing practices" where users give up their friends' data, and implied the privacy policy language was meant to deceive with "the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends".

If we're really serious about changing how social networks operate, far more radical interventions are required. "We also need to work to bring people closer together".

BuzzFeed noted that the memo was written nearly immediately after a man was shot to death while streaming live video of himself with Facebook Live, and a few days before a Palestinian teenager was accused of killing an Israeli girl after praising terrorists on Facebook.

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Facebook was under fire those days because of a live stream that contained the shooting footage of a Chicago man.

This year, the public learned that Russian operatives used Facebook to propagandize and troll Americans during the 2016 election, using connectivity to create division.

In the memo, Bosworth wrote: "We connect people". They also don't really have a higher objective other than their corporate bottom line, although they like to pretend otherwise - it makes it easier for them to both attract top talent and sleep at night. We connect people. Period. Because that's what we do.

A follow-up report by the Verge revealed that dozens of Facebook's employees have subsequently used its internal chat tools to discuss concerns that such material had been leaked to the media. Meanwhile, Facebook will be rolling out more such privacy protection measures in the coming weeks.

Facebook staffers had a mixed reaction to Boz's original memo, and many expressed disappointment in the fact that someone made a decision to leak it to the press.

On the heels of the furor over Facebook's sharing of subscriber data, new Facebook scam artists are calling people in New Mexico, attempting to access data the subscriber may not wish to share.

At least some Facebook critics accepted Bosworth's defense that he'd merely been trying to provoke. But connecting people. That's our imperative.

Bosworth's memo highlights how "one senior executive - one of Zuckerberg's longest-serving deputies - prioritized all-encompassing growth over all else, a view that has led to questionable data collection and manipulative treatment of its users", according to BuzzFeed.

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