Amid Crisis, Facebook's Top Executive Quits In Highest-Level Departure

Amid Crisis, Facebook's Top Executive Quits In Highest-Level Departure

Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook would emphasize user privacy more via encrypted messaging, a significant directional shift from the company's long-time goal of openness and connectedness. And Simo, along with the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, head of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky, and head of WhatsApp Will Cathcart, will report directly to Zuckerberg. He had left a graduate program at Stanford University to join Facebook in 2005 as a software engineer and helped developed its original news feed feature. Zuckerberg said Cox was instrumental in the company's first News Feed and credited him for helping define the company's mission, leading the product and design teams, and running the Facebook app. Zuckerberg wrote that Cox considered leaving years ago to pursue new projects, but he made a decision to stay in 2016, around the time Facebook began taking heat for acting as a conduit for misinformation and Russian election interference.

"At this point, we have made real progress on many issues and we have a clear plan for our apps, centered around making private messaging, stories and groups the foundation of the experience, including enabling encryption and interoperability across our services", Zuckerberg continued. Both men are long-serving Facebook veterans - Cox was one of Facebook's earliest employees, and Daniels has been with the company since 2011 - and trusted lieutenants of Mark Zuckerberg.

In a blog post, Zuckerberg said that Cox had been mulling an exit from Facebook to pursue other projects for "a few years".


The departures of Cox and Daniels come a day after a technical issue that limited use of Facebook and Instagram for most of Wednesday.

Longtime Facebook executive Will Cathcart will now lead WhatsApp.

Facebook's family of apps strategy has so far been led jointly by Cox and Javier Olivan, vice president of growth.


While Zuckerberg also said that Cox had spoken before about his desire to leave the company, that his departure is tied directly to Facebook's so-called privacy pivot, is significant. It's a huge job for Zuckerberg and all the leaders of Facebook's apps, so it's not going to be an easy job for anyone involved.

Facebook's social network and Instagram photo app won't change, and will remain available for sharing places, adventures and minutiae with a broader audience.


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