Read the Controversial 2016 Facebook Memo in Which an Exec Argues for 'Growth at Any Cost' 'Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. And still we connect people.'

By Entrepreneur Staff

entrepreneur daily
Leon Neal | Getty Images

Facebook has had a rough few weeks. After news stories broke that a firm named Cambridge Analytica misused the data of 50 million people, the social network has been on the defensive. Its latest move was to stop allowing advertisers to use data mined by third parties.

But in another blow to the company, Buzzfeed yesterday published a 2016 memo by Facebook Vice President Andrew "Boz" Bosworth titled "The Ugly," which reveals that company leadership knew the pitfalls of the platform. Both Bosworth and Zuckerberg have disavowed it.

"Boz is a talented leader who says many provocative things. This was one that most people at Facebook including myself disagreed with strongly," Zuckerberg said in a statement to Buzzfeed. "We've never believed the ends justify the means. 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."

You can read the whole memo here:

Andrew Bosworth
June 18, 2016

The Ugly

We talk about the good and the bad of our work often. I want to talk about the ugly.

We connect people.

That can be good if they make it positive. Maybe someone finds love. Maybe it even saves the life of someone on the brink of suicide.

So we connect more people.

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 still we 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. 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 what we do. We connect people. Period.

That's why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. 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.

The natural state of the world is not connected. It is not unified. It is fragmented by borders, languages, and increasingly by different products. The best products don't win. The ones everyone use win.

I know a lot of people don't want to hear this. Most of us have the luxury of working in the warm glow of building products consumers love. But make no mistake, growth tactics are how we got here. If you joined the company because it is doing great work, that's why we get to do that great work. We do have great products but we still wouldn't be half our size without pushing the envelope on growth. Nothing makes Facebook as valuable as having your friends on it, and no product decisions have gotten as many friends on as the ones made in growth. Not photo tagging. Not news feed. Not messenger. Nothing.

In almost all of our work, we have to answer hard questions about what we believe. We have to justify the metrics and make sure they aren't losing out on a bigger picture. But connecting people. That's our imperative. Because that's what we do. We connect people.

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Social Media

With This LinkedIn Algorithm Change, Your Best Posts Could Reach New Readers for Years

It's one of many new features rolling out on the platform in 2024.

Travel

Save Big on Airfare with a Dollar Flight Club Subscription for Less Than $60

This discounted Dollar Flight Club subscription can turn dream trips into reality.

Living

The CEO of Catholic Prayer and Meditation App Hallow Says Founders Need to Be Part of Something Bigger Than Themselves

On this episode of "The CEO Series," learn about the soulful journey of Hallow's CEO and founder Alex Jones.

Growing a Business

5 AI Hacks You Need to Know About in 2024

Despite its vast potential, the key to leveraging AI effectively lies in balancing automation with human oversight to avoid pitfalls and ensure that creativity and decision-making remain human-driven.

Money & Finance

How to Know If Your Business Is Profitable This Very Second

It's important to periodically take stock of your business status, but don't wait until the end of the quarter or Tax Day to know. Too many decisions you need to make depend on your profitability. Here are things you should be doing regularly so that when you need to know where you stand, you know.

Side Hustle

20 Side Hustle Ideas for Summer 2024: Part One

Instead of spending money this summer, prepare now to make extra cash through the following side hustles while still enjoying your free time.