One of Facebook’s top executives just announced he is quitting the social media giant. CMO Gary Briggs, who worked at Google before joining Facebook in 2013, announced that he will leave as soon as a replacement can be found. And while this isn’t earth-shattering news, his plans for his post-Facebook career are confirming some of the worst fears of conservatives about the social media giant.
Briggs made the announcement on his Facebook page where he said in part, “I’m going to pursue some advisory work for a few companies and hopefully join a few boards. I’ll explore teaching a bit. We’re going to travel some and start to split our time in and out of the Bay Area and Seattle. And I plan to help the Democratic Party on some efforts leading up to the US midterms this year through to 2020.”
Recode notes that his departure is unusual because Facebook executives rarely leave. The timing is odd because Facebook has been in a PR battle over alleged disinformation campaigns on behalf of Russian interested.
This news confirms a lot that conservatives had feared about Facebook. Many have felt that Facebook unfairly comes down on conservative content in an effort to suppress free speech it does not agree with politically. In 2016 an explosive report from a whistleblower indicated that Facebook workers “routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers” via news curators:
“Several former Facebook ‘news curators,’ as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially ‘inject’ selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.
“In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists ‘topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.’”
With a major player at Facebook going to work for Democrats, these fears will not subside anytime soon.