Facebook Exec: Our Actions Worth It, Even If People Die

He defends 'questionable' tactics in 2016 memo
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2018 1:30 AM CDT
Facebook Exec: Our Actions Worth It, Even If People Die
The Facebook logo at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Questionable business tactics—and even deaths—are justified if it helps Facebook achieve its mission of connecting people, a top exec argues in a memo titled "The Ugly" that has resurfaced at a very inconvenient time for the company. In the 2016 memo obtained by BuzzFeed, Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, who was in charge of Facebook's ad strategy at the time, says the company believes so strongly in connecting people that everything it does to achieve growth is justified. "So we connect more people," he writes "That can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs someone a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. And still we connect people."

Bosworth has been with Facebook since 2006, and former employees say he's known for his bluntness. In a tweet Thursday, he said he didn't agree with the memo even when he wrote it, but was trying to stimulate "debate around hard topics," CNBC reports. "It was intended to be provocative," he said. "This was one of the most unpopular things I've ever written internally and the ensuing debate helped shape our tools for the better." Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement saying he was among many people at Facebook who strongly disagreed with Bosworth's argument. "We've never believed the ends justify the means," the CEO said. "We recognize that connecting people isn't enough by itself. We also need to work to bring people closer together." (Facebook is overhauling its privacy tools.)

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