- Andrew “Boz” Bosworth wrote a memo in 2016 justifying growth at all costs, and that one downside is that Facebook may kill people because the platform connects people.
- After the memo was first reported by BuzzFeed News, Boz tweeted that he didn’t agree with the memo when he wrote it.
- CEO Mark Zuckerberg also released a statement saying he disagreed with the memo.
FacebookCEO Mark Zuckerberg denounced comments from one of his top executives on Thursday, following the publication of a 2016 internal memo in which the executive appeared to argue that the social network’s growth objectives outweighed any harmful side-effects, including deaths, that could result from the use of the service.
The memo, written by Facebook VP Andrew “Boz” Bosworth and published by BuzzFeed on Thursday, was “one that most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly,” Zuckerberg said in a statement provided to Business Insider.
“We’ve never believed the ends justified the means,” Zuckerberg said. But Zuckerberg defended the memo’s author, one of his most trusted confidants, calling Bosworth a “talented leader who says many provocative things.”
The comments mark the latest efforts at damage control by Zuckerberg as the 2-billion member social network he founded comes under fire for a variety of problems including its role in spreading false news and the unauthorised use of its user data by a tech firm linked to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.
“Maybe it costs someone a life”
According to the BuzzFeed report, Bosworth wrote the internal memo entitled “The Ugly,” as part of the company’s efforts to come to terms with some of the unintended consequences of its extreme growth that were beginning to become clear at the time.
“So we connect more people,” Bosworth wrote in the memo. “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.”
“The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good,” Bosworth continued.
Following the publication of the memo on Thursday, Bosworth sought to distance himself from the remarks.
“I don’t agree with the post today and I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it,” Bosworth said in a statement he posted on his personal Twitter account.
“The purpose of this post, like many others I have written internally, was to bring to the surface issues I felt deserved more discussion with the broader company,” the statement reads.