Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Menlo Park, CA, United States (4E) – Given a choice, and it’s a choice it took, Facebook would rather make billions of dollars than protect the privacy of its 2.2 billion monthly active users, according to an incendiary internal memo leaked to the media and made public recently.
The memo titled “The Ugly” from Andrew Bosworth, Vice-President, Consumer Hardware, and written in 2016 defended Facebook’s growth at any cost — even if it kills some people — and that Facebook’s work doesn’t always have positive outcomes. According to Bosworth:
“We connect people. 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. 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. 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. It is perhaps the only area where the metrics do tell the true story as far as we are concerned.”
The implied message is that growth, which can only be attained by connecting more and more people, is Job Number One at Facebook. User protection is nowhere to be found.
In response to allegations he’s the dark force behind Facebook’s soulessness, Bosworth surprisingly said he doesn’t agree with what he said in the email. He also said his email was intended to create “debate about hard topics.”
“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,” he tweeted.
On the other hand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg begged to differ with his vice-president.
“We recognize that connecting people isn’t enough by itself,” said Zuckerberg. “We also need to work to bring people closer together. We changed our whole mission and company focus to reflect this last year.”
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