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Leaked Facebook ‘ugly truth’ memo on the social network’s growth sparks controversy

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A leaked Facebook memo of a strong senior executive that the details of the risks associated with the social network’s continued growth has led to controversy.

The incendiary memo of June 18, 2016, which was written by Facebook Vice-President Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, was published by BuzzFeed Thursday. With the title “The Ugly,” the note had not been previously disseminated outside of Silicon Valley. After the memo was made public, Bosworth quickly disavowed the provocative note, saying, that it was meant to lead to discussion among Facebook employees.

With Facebook currently reeling from the scandal over Cambridge Analytica the alleged misuse of the data of the user, the leaked memo has a thrust of the social network of the strategy even further in the spotlight.

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“We connect people. Period. That is the reason why all the work that we do in the growth is justified. All questionable, please contact the import of practices. The subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work that we do to ensure that more communication in. The works we will probably do in China some day. Everything,” Bosworth wrote in the memo, according to Buzzfeed.

“So we get more people,” he wrote elsewhere in the note. “That can be bad if they are negative. Maybe it takes someone’s life, by exposing someone who bullies.

“Maybe there is someone dies in a terrorist attack, as coordinated on our tools,” Bosworth added. “The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people, so deep that anything that allows us to connect to more people more often, it is *actual* good.”

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Bosworth, who is currently Facebook’s vice president of virtual reality/augmented reality, and was once the social network of the vice-president of the ads. The executive downplayed the memo in a tweet Thursday.

“I don’t agree with the post of today and I didn’t agree with it, even when I wrote it,” he said, in a tweeted statement. “The purpose of this post, like many others, I’ve written internally, was to bring to the surface issues I felt deserved more discussion with the broader company.”

Bosworth, who is regarded as one of the more outspoken executives, said that the memo should not be seen as a reflection of his, or Facebook, and beliefs.

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“Having a debate around the hard issues such as this is an essential part of our process and to do that effectively we are able to consider it even a bad idea, if only to eliminate them,” Bosworth added. “To see this post in isolation is rough, because it makes it appear as an attitude, which I owned or which the company holds, when this is not the case.”

My statement on the recent Buzzfeed story is a post I wrote in 2016 pic.twitter.com/lmzDMcrjv5

— Boz (@boztank) March 29, 2018

In a later tweet Bosworth said that the memo is one of the most unpopular things he has written internally, but added that the discussion “helped with our tools the better.”

“why did you post you don’t agree?” It was intended to provoke. This was one of the most unpopular things I’ve ever written internally and the ensuing debate contributed that our tools are for the better.

— Boz (@boztank) March 29, 2018

The tech giant, which has more than 2.1 billion monthly active users, has more than 25,000 employees around the world.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also quickly disavowed the memo. “Boz is a talented leader who says a lot of challenging things. This was one that the most people on Facebook including myself did not agree with strongly. We have never believed that the ends justifies the means,” he said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

The memo originated at a difficult time for the Facebook-boss, who is struggling with the consequences of a major data scandal.

Reports emerged earlier this month that data mining company, Cambridge Analytica improperly used information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts, where the social network to suspend the british company. Cambridge Analytica, who has ties with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential elections, denies any wrongdoing.

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Zuckerberg apologized for the data scandal in a long post last week and in ads in the newspaper this past weekend. He also described the situation as “a serious breach of trust” in an interview with CNN.

The scandal has already prompted a redesign of Facebook’s privacy settings.

The Facebook chief will reportedly testify in front of the AMERICAN legislators with regard to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Zuckerberg, however, has so far rejected similar calls from the lawmakers in the U. K.

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Cambridge Analytica has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm hired by Facebook.

Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology researcher at the University of Cambridge, who worked with Cambridge Analytica through his company Global Science Research (GSR), is also embroiled in a controversy. Last week he told the BBC that both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have tried to put the blame on him.

Fox News’ Christopher Carbone and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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