Brian Amerige, a Facebook engineer who sparked a firestorm by criticising the company’s “intolerant” liberal culture, is leaving.
He wrote a 1,000-word memo for his colleagues to say goodbye, which has been obtained by Business Insider.
In the memo, Amerige candidly lays out the challenges facing Facebook — including a slowdown in sharing and a weak product culture.
He also praises the company’s scrappiness, and the way it assigns team roles.
A Facebook engineer who sparked an internal firestorm by attacking what he described as the company’s “intolerant” liberal culture is leaving — and he penned a 1,000-word memo laying out the company’s struggles on his way out the door.
Brian Amerige, an engineering manager of product usability at the social networking giant, provoked passionate debates in Facebook in August 2018, when he wrote a memo decrying what he viewed as the company’s “political monoculture” that is intolerant of conservative and dissenting views.
His document came as Silicon Valley grappled with allegations of bias and liberal slant, and after engineer James Damore made headlines of his own with a memo criticizing diversity initiatives at Google. Amerige’s actions led to the formation of an internal employee group, FB’ers for Political Diversity, that now has more than 750 members.
Amerige, who describes himself as an objectivist, recently announced internally that he was leaving Facebook, as Business Insider first reported, and he wrote an extensive new memo to his colleagues explaining why — as well as problems Facebook is facing, from team structure to the decline in sharing on Facebook.
The document provides a rare window into how Facebook employees view its key challenges internally.
“My departure isn’t because I think these issues are intractable. These problems can be solved — just not by me, nor anymore, at least,” Amerige wrote. “I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that’s how I know it’s time to go.”
Facebook is battling a slowdown in sharing
While Amerige has made headlines over his criticism of Facebook’s politics and culture, many of the issues he raises in the memo aren’t political in nature. Instead, it candidly addresses the challenges Facebook is confronting, and what he believes needs to be done to tackle them — including cultivating a stronger culture around building products.
“Our product is also at a crossroads (and has been for years) as sharing in the Facebook app continues to dwindle. The pivot to Stories will hopefully help, but I’m disappointed by how reactive our future appears to be. Ultimately, I’ve spent the bulk of my time at Facebook trying to build a stronger product culture,” he wrote.
The scale and details of the decline in Facebook sharing that Amerige references are not entirely clear. But there have been various indications of the trend in recent years, including a 2016 report in The Information which claimed that personal updates among users were down 21%.
Facebook’s problems with privacy and fake news also led to the company’s …read more
Source:: Business Insider