Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that he strongly disagrees with a 2016 memo in which one of the top executives at his company advocated relentless growth, even if "maybe it costs someone a life."
Zuckerberg called Facebook VP Andrew “Boz” Bosworth "a talented leader who says many provocative things," but added the memo was something "that most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly."
"We've never believed the ends justify the means," Zuckerberg said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "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."
Zuckerberg's comments were a response a BuzzFeed News report on a memo Bosworth wrote in 2016. In the memo, Bosworth pushed a cutthroat philosophy, writing that "we connect people. Period. That's why all the work we do in growth is justified."
"All the questionable contact importing practices," Bosworth continued. "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."
At another point, Bosworth wrote that the effects of connecting more people "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," he added.
The memo was titled "The Ugly" and had not previously been circulated outside the company. Two former Facebook employees told BuzzFeed News that Bosworth is known at the company for being blunt.
After BuzzFeed reported on the memo Thursday, Bosworth tweeted a statement in which he said he doesn't "agree with the post today and I didn't agree with it even when I wrote it."
Bosworth has been at Facebook since 2006. He published the memo the day after a Chicago man was shot and killed while being recorded on Facebook Live, the company's livestreaming service.
News of the memo comes as Facebook faces intense backlash over revelations about the use of its data by political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which did work for Donald Trump's campaign. The fallout over the Cambridge Analytica scandal has raised questions about Facebook's business practices and handling of users' data, and has sent the company's stock price spiraling downward.
A former senior executive at Facebook told BuzzFeed News that views like those championed in Bosworth's memo are also being retroactively raised and discussed in light of the company's recent scandals.
"Right now there's a tremendous amount of soul-searching, internally,” the former executive said. “Views like Boz's are being raised retroactively and debated now with more vigor."
Ryan Mac contributed additional reporting to this story.
Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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