Leaked Facebook memo: 'so what if the social network's growth leads to terrorism and death?'

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A leaked memo written by Facebook's vice-president, Andrew Bosworth, entitled "The Ugly" gives a glimpse into the attitude the social network has towards its own growth. "Boz" Bosworth says the "ugly truth" of Facebook's growth is that connecting people could lead to deaths -- but so be it.

In the memo, Bosworth says "anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good". He goes on to say: "That's why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices. All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it". With the criticism that has been leveled at Facebook recently, the leak could hardly have come at a worse time.

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A beleaguered Mark Zuckerberg has already tried to distance himself from the 2016 memo, saying that he disagrees with the contents and pointing out that his company "never believed the ends justify the means". The memo has been published in full by Buzzfeed. In it, Bosworth says:

Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. It is literally just what we do. We connect people. Period. That's why all the work we do in growth is justified.

While the memo is a couple of years old, and has been held at arm's length by Zuckerberg, it certainly does not reflect well on Facebook.

The memo shows that Facebook is well aware of the impact it can have on the world -- positive as well as negative -- and acknowledges that at least some sections of the company do not care about the cost of advancement.

That the memo originates from Bosworth -- a Facebook stalwart of more than a decade -- is something that will be particularly disturbing to anyone reading it. He himself has already sought to turn around the debate, suggesting that he didn’t even agree with what he said when he wrote the memo. On Twitter he said:

In another tweet he says:

But for all of the back peddling, there's no denying that this is yet another thing that does not look good for Facebook.

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