Meta Disbands Team Responsible for Ensuring Facebook Products Are Ethical
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has disbanded the responsible innovation team tasked with policing ethical concerns about its products as the company and other tech giants cut costs amid slow growth.
The team consisted of about two dozen engineers, ethicists, and others who worked with product teams across the company to review potential product and feature concerns, but it is divided, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Most of those employees will be reassigned to other teams within the company, although their jobs are not guaranteed, a company spokesperson said.
A Meta spokesperson told DailyMail.com that the company’s commitment to responsible product design has not wavered, saying in a statement: “This work is higher priority than ever, not lower.”
“We are growing it by deploying dedicated expert teams in priority product areas and have more people working on responsible innovation within product teams than two years ago,” the statement added.
“That’s why the overwhelming majority of former members of this team are pursuing this type of work elsewhere at Meta.”
It comes as a number of tech companies, including Uber, Alphabet, Apple and Twitter, have cut hiring and cut contractor positions – while others, like Netflix, have laid off staff in time. full.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has warned of cuts, and now the company has disbanded responsible innovation tasked with policing ethical concerns about its products
The innovation team responsible for Meta was led by Vice President Margaret Gould Stewart.
In June 2021, Stewart wrote in a company blog post that the team was created to “help product teams identify potential damage across a wide range of societal issues and dilemmas.”
“We create standards, tools and guidance for responsible innovation practices in our apps and services,” she added.
The upheaval comes as Meta and other Silicon Valley giants seek cost cuts as inflation and weakening ad sales hamper growth and reduce profits.
In late July, after Meta reported that its profits were down 36% from a year ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned investors on a conference call: “Many teams are going to shrink so we can move the energy to other areas.”
Meta’s responsible innovation team was led by Vice President Margaret Gould Stewart, seen above at a conference in 2017
Zuckerberg also recently said he would weed out underperforming employees with “aggressive performance reviews” as the company braces for a deep economic downturn.
Last month, Meta fired a group of 60 contractors who were allegedly randomly selected by an algorithm.
The contractors were employed through Accenture in their Austin office, a company that struck a deal worth nearly half a billion dollars a year to staff the company with moderation workers. content and business integrity.
The layoffs were announced during a videoconference on Tuesday and Accenture did not immediately offer them new jobs or transfers, according to Business Insider.
And earlier this summer, Meta revamped its entire AI team, including bringing the responsible AI group into its social impact team.
The upheaval comes as Meta and other Silicon Valley giants seek cost cuts as inflation and weakening ad sales hamper growth and cut profits
Meta isn’t the only tech giant warning of cost cuts and hinting at potential layoffs.
Earlier this week, Alphabet’s CEO hinted at possible job cuts as he wants the company to become “20% more efficient” after years of rapid hiring.
Sundar Pichai, 50, spoke at the Code conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, where he said he wanted to make the tech giant, owner of Google, more efficient due to economic uncertainty caused by inflation high for decades and a slowdown in ad spending, according to CNBC.
In July, Alphabet said in a regulatory filing that it would slow the pace of hiring for the rest of the year due to decades-high inflation.
On Tuesday, Pichai also told the conference that the company’s productivity has become “slower” after hiring has skyrocketed over the past five years, and that one way to make it more efficient is to merge products. competitors, such as YouTube Music and Google Play Music.
In August, Apple laid off many of its contract recruiters after warnings it would slow hiring and limit spending.
Sundar Pichai, 50, told the Code conference (pictured) that he plans to make Google more efficient by limiting the number of people who need to make decisions before ad spending slows
Apple has laid off about 100 contractors responsible for vetting and hiring new employees, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
In July, Apple reportedly warned staff of plans to slow hiring and spending growth next year in some divisions.
In May, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced plans to lay off 10% of its salaried staff, saying he had “a very bad feeling about the economy”.
Netflix, which has seen two straight quarters of net subscriber losses, cut its workforce by 150 in May and another 300 in June.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, also said last month that it would slow the pace of hiring for the rest of the year.
Amazon is said to have reduced the ranks of its hourly employees through attrition and recently halted construction of six new office buildings in Bellevue and Nashville.