- REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
- An explosive memo detailing Facebook’s cutthroat growth mentality was leaked to BuzzFeed and published on Thursday night.
- But some Facebook employees think the real problem is leakers, according to posts leaked to The Verge.
Facebook is reeling after BuzzFeed on Thursday published an explosive memo from the senior Facebook leader Andrew Bosworth.
Bosworth, a vice president at Facebook who’s known as Boz, wrote in June 2016 that Facebook’s “questionable contact importing practices” and other so-called growth-hacking tactics were justified by the company’s mission, even if the platform was used to bully or even to coordinate terrorist attacks.
The breathtaking memo seems to reveal a “growth at all costs” mentality at Facebook that has led to several other scandals in which the company is now embroiled, such as the uproar over the British data firm Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of data from 50 million Facebook users using the platform’s built-in tools.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has since said the Bosworth memo was “one that most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly,” describing his longtime deputy as a “talented leader who says many provocative things.”
So what’s the reaction inside Facebook? Some employees think the company’s problem is leakers – and possibly spies – according to an article by The Verge’s Casey Newton:
“Dozens of employees criticized the unknown leakers at the company. ‘Leakers, please resign instead of sabotaging the company,’ one wrote in a comment under Bosworth’s post. Wrote another: ‘How fucking terrible that some irresponsible jerk decided he or she had some god complex that jeopardizes our inner culture and something that makes Facebook great?'”
Here’s where the discussion gets conspiratorial:
“Another theory floated by multiple employees is that Facebook has been targeted by spies or state-level actors hoping to embarrass the company. ‘Keep in mind that leakers could be intentionally placed bad actors, not just employees making a one-off bad decision,’ one wrote. ‘Thinking adversarially, if I wanted info from Facebook, the easiest path would be to get people hired into low-level employee or contract roles.’ Another wrote: ‘Imagine that some percentage of leakers are spies for governments. A call to morals or problems of performance would be irrelevant in this case, because dissolution is the intent of those actors. If that’s our threat – and maybe it is, given the current political situation? – then is it even possible to build a system that defaults to open, but that is able to resist these bad actors (or do we need to redesign the system?)'”
It’s hard to tell how most Facebook employees – not just the loudest – feel about Bosworth’s positions, and it’s possible that these threads were taken out of context. That’s Bosworth’s explanation for what was said in the memo, which BuzzFeed published in full.
But we can’t tell what thousands of rank-and-file workers think, especially given the company’s policies barring employees from talking to the press.
If you know anything about the discussions inside Facebook, email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a secure communications channel.
You can read the entire story at The Verge – it’s the best look we have so far.