The publication of a June 2016 memorandum describing the consequences of growth to Facebook's minimum triggered an emotional conversation in the company today. An internal publication that reacted to the note found that the employees were angry and disconsolate because their teammates were sharing the company's internal discussions with the media. Many asked the company to intensify its war against the filter feeders and hire employees with more "integrity".
On Thursday night, BuzzFeed posted a memo from Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, Facebook's vice president who currently leads his hardware efforts. In the note, Bosworth says the main function of the company is to connect people, despite the consequences he repeatedly called "ugly." "That's why all the work we do in growth is justified, all questionable contact import practices," he wrote. "All the subtle language that helps people continue to be sought after by friends, all the work we do to bring more communication, the work that we will probably have to do in China some day."
Bosworth distanced himself from the note, saying in a Twitter post that he had not agreed with those words, even when he wrote them. He was trying to galvanize a discussion about the company's growth strategy, he said. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told BuzzFeed that he did not agree with the sentiments in the message at the time, and that growth should not be a means to an end in itself. "We recognize that connecting people is not enough by itself, we also have to work to bring people together," said Zuckerberg.
After publishing the note, Bosworth deleted his original publication. "While I will not go so far as to call him a straw man, that publication was definitely designed to elicit an answer," Bosworth wrote in a memo obtained by The Verge. "It effectively served as a call for people across the company to get involved in the debate about how we behave in the midst of the changing customs of the online community." The publication had no particular consequences in itself, it was the comments. awesome, a conversation over the years that was alive and even going into this week.
"It will not be me who will bring it for fear it will be misinterpreted by a broader population that does not have a complete context about who we are and how we work."
"That conversation is now gone," Bosworth continued. "And I will not be the one to bring it for fear of being misinterpreted by a broader population that does not have a complete context about who we are and how we work."
Facebook and Bosworth refused to comment.
Almost 3,000 employees had reacted to Bosworth's memo when The Verge saw him, responding with a mixture of "I like", "sad" and "angry". Many employees joined Bosworth's side, praising him for sharing his feelings about the company's sensitive issues using blunt language.
Dozens of employees criticized the strangers in the company. "Leakers, please resign instead of sabotaging the company," one wrote in a comment under the Bosworth publication. He wrote another: "How damn terrible that an irresponsible idiot decided he had some divine complex that endangers our inner culture and something that makes Facebook great."
Several employees suggested that Facebook try to evaluate employees for a high degree of "integrity" during the hiring process. "Although we all unconsciously look for signs of integrity in the interviews, should we consider whether this should be formalized in the interview process?" Wrote one.
"This is so disappointing, I wonder if there is a way to hire for integrity."
He wrote another: "This is so disappointing, I wonder if there is a way to hire for integrity, we are probably focusing on the intelligence part and getting smart people who lack moral compass and loyalty."
Other employees said it would be difficult to detect leaks before acting.
"I do not think we've seen a huge leak of data filtered internally, but I've always thought that the open but punitive stance of the tour was particularly vulnerable to suicide bombers," one employee wrote. "It would be foolish to think that we have to adequately detect against them in a hiring process on our scale … We have our representative participation of sick people, drug addicts, wife-beating and suicide bombers." Some of this can not be mitigated. for training, for me, this makes it just a matter of time. "
That employee followed him and said, "My God, I ran back to my computer after a half-eaten lunch with food in my mouth." You apologize to our brothers in sisters in the Austin office for my insensitive choice of metaphors / words. I feel. "
"We have our representative participation of sick people, drug addicts, wranglers and suicide bombers."
Several employees shared concerns that the leaks had removed part of the brightness of Facebook. The company has been repeatedly cited as one of the best places to work in the United States.
"If this filtering # $% ^ continues, we will become like any other company where people hesitate to discuss ideas and long-range and prospective thoughts, that only ideas and average thoughts are discussed and executed," said one employee. wrote: "Convert them into average companies".
Another employee replied: "Will he become? It seems we are there."
Here is the complete Bosworth memo for today's company.
I feel a little disconsolate tonight.
Several reporters got in touch today with different stories that contain leaks of internal information.
In response to one of the leaks, I decided to eliminate a publication that I published a couple of years ago about our mission to connect people and the ways in which we grow. While I will not go so far as to call him a straw man, that publication was definitely designed to elicit an answer. It effectively served as a call for people across the company to get involved in the debate about how we behave in the midst of the changing customs of the online community. The publication had no particular consequences in itself, were impressive comments. A conversation over the years that was alive and even going into this week.
That conversation is now gone. And I will not be the one to return it for fear of being misinterpreted by a broader population that does not have a complete context about who we are and how we work.
This is the real cost of the leaks. We had a sensitive issue in which we could openly engage and explore even bad ideas, even if only to eliminate them. If we have to live in fear that even our bad ideas are exposed, then we will not explore them or understand them as such, we will not clearly label them as such, we will run a much greater risk of tripping over them later on. Conversations go underground or do not happen at all. And not only are we worse for it, so are the people who use our products.
Casey Newton can be contacted at email@example.com, or sent via Twitter to @CaseyNewton for your signal.