Facebook's CTO says that employees have a 'more pessimistic view on everything in the company' after its scandalous year

Araya Diaz/GettyFacebook CTO Mike Schroepfer

  • Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer said he’s seen a major cultural shift within the company in the month since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • After the scandal, in which a data analytics company improperly obtained information on as many as 87 million Facebook users and used it for election ad targeting, many consumers were critical of Facebook’s approach. Schroepfer himself was subject to questioning from UK lawmakers.
  • Employees have a much “sharper, more pessimistic view, on everything in the company,” when it comes to product development, security, and content review, he said at the Code Conference.

Facebook employees have a “much sharper, more pessimistic view on everything in the company” than they did this time last year, according to CTO Mike Schroepfer.

“Top to bottom [it’s] not just what are all the great things that can happen, but what are all the ways that people can abuse this? What are all the theoretical ways this could happen?”Schroepfer said in an on-stage interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka at the annual Code Conference.

Schroepfer was referring to the aftermath of Facebook’s tumultuous year – where concerns over user privacy and its role in spreading misinformation put the social network under the spotlight. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where a data analysis firm improperly obtained information on as many as 87 million Facebook users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Schroepfer himself were subject to questioning from lawmakers in the United States and UK.

In the months since, Schroepfer says employees have started looking at things differently, by becoming more wary of what the tools they create are capable of before they’re deployed rather than relying on doing damage control after.

“I mean it’s the biggest cultural shift I’ve ever seen in the ten years I’ve been there,” Schroepfer said. And it’s apparently seeping into everything that Facebook does, including product changes and development, policy changes, security, and content review.

“I think the the days in tech of just ‘hey I built these tools, I’m not responsible for what happens with them,’ are sort of over.”

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