Two more top Facebook executives leave the company

Kenny Grant
March 15, 2019

The move comes with Facebook struggling to cope with investigations and complaints over data protection and privacy, and after Zuckerberg's announcement last week of a new focus for the platform.

In his latest role as product chief, a position he held for 10 months, Cox led strategy for the company's family of apps.

"Most all my personal highs and lows of the last decade have been tied up in the journey of this company, with Mark, and with so many of you", Cox wrote in a post. Cox started off at Facebook as an engineer working on News Feed, but he later moved on to other parts of the company and became one of the biggest leaders at the company after Mark Zuckerberg.

Will Cathcart was announced as the new lead on WhatsApp, while Zuckerberg, apparently consolidating power as he prepares to merge the apps in some way or another, states he does "not plan on immediately appointing anyone to fill Chris's role in the near term". Fidji Simo, who has worked on Facebook's video startegy, will be in charge of the Facebook app, but won't have the VP of Product title Cox did.

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In addition to Cox, Zuckerberg also said on Thursday that Chris Daniels, vice president of WhatsApp, is stepping down.

Cox and Daniels are among a string of executives who've left Facebook since 2017. Chris Cox was responsible for Facebook's flagship apps - including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook itself. It's a huge job for Zuckerberg and all the leaders of Facebook's apps, so it's not going to be an easy job for anyone involved. Zuckerberg wants to encrypt user content and make posts, messages, and photos ephemeral, much like Snapchat.

Their departures come barely a week after Zuckerberg announced sweeping changes to Facebook, in order re-orient the social network around encryption and privacy.

Forrester analyst Jessica Liu said it sounded like Cox was "subtly disagreeing" with Zuckerberg's privacy memo, based on Cox's farewell post.

Longtime Facebook executive Will Cathcart will now lead WhatsApp. "Facebook a massive and evolving company, so it's only natural that in a company that large, not everyone will agree with every strategic change", she said.

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