A leaked memo shows the good and (very) bad things Facebook thinks it can do for the world
Facebook’s practices have always been a bit controversial, but this new intel exposes the company in a way we’ve never seen before. On Thursday, a leaked 2016 Facebook memo was published by BuzzFeed, outlining what the company thinks it can do for the world by connecting people. Of course, the memo’s author, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, a vice president at Facebook, thinks the company can do a lot of good — but it’s the bad stuff outlined in the Facebook memo that’s truly alarming.
According to BuzzFeed, Bosworth (who is also known as Boz) titled the message “The Ugly” when he penned it in July 2016, a revealing moniker. Facebook has been criticized over the last couple of years for its data collection practices and the way it manipulates users with ads and news, and the memo seems to be Bosworth’s defense of that.
“We connect people,” Bosworth wrote. “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. So we connect more people.”
He continued, "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."
This is obviously really hard to digest on its own, but that’s not even the end of the memo. It goes on to say that Facebook’s “questionable” practices are justified because Facebook must keep growing.
“That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified,” Bosworth continued. “All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it.”
Since the memo leaked, Bosworth has taken to Twitter to share his response: false
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also issued a statement to BuzzFeed,calling the Facebook memo something “that most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly.”
“We’ve never believed the ends justify the means,” Zuckerberg added. “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.”
What will happen now that the memo has been exposed? It’s hard to say what the future holds for Facebook, but we certainly hope execs won’t continue to justify lives being lost or terrorism being carried out as collateral damage to the company’s growth. Read the rest of the Facebook memo on BuzzFeed.