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Facebook executives Chris Cox, Chris Daniels to depart

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March 14 (UPI) — Two top executives at Facebook are leaving as part of a “new chapter” for the social media network, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday.

Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels are departing amid Facebook’s push to rebuild Facebook with stronger privacy in mind.

“While it is sad to lose such great people, this also creates opportunities for more great leaders who are energized about the path ahead to take on new and bigger roles,” Zuckerberg said.

Cox has a 13-year history with Facebook, starting as one of the company’s first 15 engineers, who then worked his way up the ranks. In his own Facebook post Thursday, he said the company will forever be a part of his life.

The departures come less than two weeks after Zuckerberg announced a shift in Facebook’s focus toward privacy after years of criticisms over the company’s handling of users’ personal data. He offered little in the way of specifics, but did announce a plan to merge messaging services through Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

“As Mark has outlined, we are turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network. It’s a product vision attuned to the subject matter of today: a modern communications platform that balances expression, safety, security, and privacy,” Cox wrote. “This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through.”

Daniels, meanwhile, headed up WhatsApp since co-founder Jan Koum’s departure in April. Koum said he left after clashes with Facebook over its privacy issues.

Facebook came under scrutiny last year after it was revealed the company allowed data mining firm Cambridge Analytica to gain access to millions of users’ personal information.

Cambridge University academic Aleksandr Kogan and his company Global Science Research used the quiz app “This Is Your Digital Life” to gather data on 270,000 users — and the users’ friends, who did not participate in the quiz — which it then shared with data mining firm Cambridge Analytica in 2015. The company used the demographic information from 87 million Facebook users to target political advertising.

In March, whistleblower and Cambridge Analytica co-founder Christopher Wylie revealed the data mining company was holding onto Facebook user data without the users’ consent even after Facebook told the company to delete it.

Wylie said the company was initially funded by billionaire Robert Mercer and his boss was former Breitbart founder and White House adviser Steve Bannon.

Wylie said leadership at Cambridge Analytica wanted to fight a “culture war.”





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