Facebook loses two important executives amid new privacy push

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 15, 2019

Facebook's top executive in charge of all products, Chris Cox, the longtime confidant of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, is leaving the company, the highest-level departure at the social media giant and follows almost two years of sustained crises. The leaders of each of Facebook's main products (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp) will now report directly to Zuckerberg.

Facebook has seen plenty of internal rearranging over the past couple of years, as executives have left the company or moved around it into new roles.

Facebook also said WhatsApp chief Chris Daniels is leaving the company. Fidji Simo, who has worked on Facebook's video startegy, will be in charge of the Facebook app, but won't have the VP of Product title Cox did.

Mark Zuckerberg has lost two of his closest lieutenants in a major setback for Facebook as it seeks to shift its strategy towards private messaging.

Cox joined 13 years ago and helped create Facebook's News Feed feature.

"This is an important change as we begin the next chapter of our work building the privacy-focused social foundation of the future", Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a statement. "But after 2016, we both realized we had too much important work to do to improve our products for society, and he stayed to help us work through these issues and help us chart a course for our family of apps going forward", Zuckerberg wrote.

Cox posted about his departure on Facebook, but didn't explain why he made a decision to leave.

These two departures come on the heels of founding-executive departures at Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp past year.

He did point out Facebook is "turning a new page" by focusing more on messaging and encryption. It's a product vision attuned to the subject matter of today: a modern communications platform that balances expression, safety, security, and privacy.

Originally published March 14, 1:19 p.m. Update, 1:48 p.m.: Includes more background and Zuckerberg's post to employees; 1:55 p.m.: Adds background about other executive departures; 2:15 p.m.: Includes post from Chris Cox.

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