It seems that Facebook’s long-held mentality of ‘Move Fast and Break Things’ keeps coming back to bite it.
A newly leaked internal memo, written by top Facebook executive Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth’ in June 2016, gives a candid look into how far the tech giant was willing to go in order to become the world’s most popular social media platform.
In the memo titled ‘The Ugly’, Bosworth admits that the firm engages in ‘questionable contact importing practices’ and uses ‘subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends’ — all for the purpose of growing the service, according to a BuzzFeed report.
He even ventures as far as to say that if connecting people causes someone to ‘die in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools’ that it’s all part of the effort to achieve growth.
Facebook’s data collection tactics have been in focus after it was revealed that 50 million members’ data had been harvested without their knowledge
The firm’s collection of user call logs and messages has been a core revelation of the ongoing data scandal.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg quickly came to Bosworth’s defense in a statement issued late Thursday.
‘We’ve never believed the ends justify the means,’ Zuckerberg said in a statement to BuzzFeed.
‘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,’ he added.
Zuckerberg went on to say that Bosworth is a ‘talented leader who says many provocative things,’ but said the memo was something that ‘most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly.’
Some Twitter users called for Bosworth to resign as a result of the memo being leaked.
The firm’s data collection tactics have been in focus after it was revealed that 50 million members’ data had been harvested without their knowledge.
Bosworth’s years-old comments appear in stark contrast to what has been said publicly by Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica row.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have made the rounds in recent days to apologize for how it mismanaged users’ data and have announced several steps to remedy the situation, including banning user data from third-party aggregators.
Facebook’s VP of consumer hardware Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth (pictured) joined the company in 2006 from Microsoft. Since then, he’s become one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s top lieutenants
But Bosworth seemed to show little remorse for the unintended consequences of Facebook’s controversial data collection techniques, which he says is all for the goal of ‘connecting people’.
‘We connect people. Period. That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified,’ Bosworth wrote in the memo.
‘…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 we still connect people,’ he added.
Since joining Facebook in 2006 from Microsoft, Bosworth has risen to become one of Zuckerberg’s top lieutenants. He often speaks out in defense of the company on Twitter.
In a statement on Thursday, Bosworth said he ‘didn’t agree’ with the BuzzFeed report.
A newly leaked internal memo, written by top Facebook executive Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth’ in June 2016, gives a candid look into how far the tech giant was willing to go in order to become the world’s most popular social media platform. ‘Boz’ responded on Twitter today
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) and COO Sheryl Sandberg have made the rounds in recent days to apologize for how it mismanaged users’ data and have announced several steps to remedy the situation
A former Facebook executive defended Bosworth’s internal memo, telling BuzzFeed that the memo was ‘super popular internally’.
Another former Facebook employee said the memo was just ‘Boz being Boz’.
Others said Bosworth exhibits questionable behaviors at the company.
‘He is definitely a guy who isn’t very diplomatic — he’d blunder into internal debates and internal comms would tend to keep an eye on what he’s doing and posting,’ a former senior Facebook employee told BuzzFeed.
‘The memo is classic Boz because it speaks to the majority of Facebook employee views but it’s also polarizing.’
‘This is clearly a post meant to rally the troops,’ the employee added.
Despite this, the memo gives a glimpse into how some of Facebook’s top executive felt they were doing the right thing by trying to ‘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,’ Bosworth wrote.
‘It is perhaps the only area where the metrics do tell the true story as far as we are concerned’
‘That isn’t something we are doing for ourselves. Or for our stock price (ha!)’
‘It is literally just we what we do. We connect people. Period.’
BuzzFeed noted that the memo was posted on Facebook in an employee-only group just one day after a Chicago man was shot dead on Facebook Live, the firm’s livestreaming platform.
Facebook’s vast treasure troves of user data have rapidly become the backbone behind its $450 billion market capitalization.
The firm now boasts 2 billion-plus advertisers — a statistic that has become enticing to many advertisers.
Some Twitter users are saying Facebook’s VP of consumer hardware, Andrew Bosworth (pictured), should resign as a result of the explosive memo leaked by BuzzFeed on Thursday
WHAT IS THE CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SCANDAL?
Communications firms Cambridge Analytica has offices in London, New York, Washington, as well as Brazil and Malaysia.
The company boasts it can ‘find your voters and move them to action’ through data-driven campaigns and a team that includes data scientists and behavioural psychologists.
‘Within the United States alone, we have played a pivotal role in winning presidential races as well as congressional and state elections,’ with data on more than 230 million American voters, Cambridge Analytica claims on its website.
The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix (pictured), after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump
This meant the company was able to mine the information of 55 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.
This was designed to help them create software that can predict and influence voters’ choices at the ballot box.
The data firm suspended its chief executive, Alexander Nix, after recordings emerged of him making a series of controversial claims, including boasts that Cambridge Analytica had a pivotal role in the election of Donald Trump.
This information is said to have been used to help the Brexit campaign in the UK.
It’s only now that many Facebook members are waking up to the fact that the firm has access to mountains of personal data, ranging from call logs to messages and other information.
Facebook maintains that it doesn’t sell any user data and doesn’t collect the contents of call logs or messages.
But that hasn’t stopped many users from heavily criticizing the firm’s data collection tactics.
Legislators and data privacy experts are now calling on Facebook to be regulated by the federal government.
In recent days, Zuckerberg has admitted that he believes Facebook and other tech giants should be susceptible to some kind of regulation.
The firm has also taken several steps to try and curb some of its data collection tactics.
The company is removing a feature that allowed marketers to target adverts using information from people’s lives collected outside of Facebook.
Facebook on Wednesday also put all its privacy settings on one page and made it easier to stop third-party apps from using personal information.
WHO ARE THE DATA VAMPIRES MINING FOR INFO ON FACEBOOK?
Facebook’s latest scandal involving communications firm Cambridge Analytica has served as a startling wake-up call for many users on the countless companies mining our social data.
Through a feature that meant apps could ask for permission not only to your data, but that of your Facebook friends as well, the firm was able to mine the information of 55 million users.
And, only 270,000 had given them permission to do so.
In 2014, Facebook changed its rules so that apps could no longer obtain data about a person’s friends unless those users had also authorized the app.
Still, Cambridge Analytica is far from the only firm to have access to Facebook users’ data.
By connecting your Facebook profile to a third-party app, you’re typically also granting that app permission to access your data.
You can check which apps your Facebook account is sharing data with by clicking here.
To view the apps you’ve given permission to (as shown above), go to Settings > Apps
That includes your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, networks, username and user ID. These apps can also access your friends list, and any other public data.
Once the outside parties have access to your data, they can then use it to track different types of activity.
Many popular apps such as Instagram, Spotify, Airbnb, and Tinder can be connected to your Facebook account.
Just weeks ago, for example, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe bragged that the company stores ‘an enormous amount of information’ about users, and even tracks where they go after the movies.
MoviePass is also among the many apps that can be connected to your Facebook.
And, it doesn’t stop there.
Facebook users are waking up to just how much of their private information they have accidentally handed over to third-party apps. Social media users are sharing their shock at discovering thousands of software plugins have been gathering their data
Taking Facebook quizzes from third-party services, or doing image generators (such as the ever-popular ‘What Would Your Baby Look Like, or What Would You Look Like As The Opposite Sex), also often gives outside firms access to your data.
While these are usually preceded by a pop-up asking permission to access certain parts of your profile, many users have taken to clicking through without thoroughly reading what they’ve just agreed to.
Some users are now expressing their horror upon realizing they’ve granted permission to hundreds of third-party apps.
Other apps that have experienced viral popularity over the last few years, such as Facetune and Meitu, can access your Facebook data as well.