Facebook’s “Ugly Truth” Memo Shows Questionable Ethics


In another strike against social media giant Facebook, an internal memo has been published that has caused people to question the company’s ethics.

A memo written in 2016 by high-ranking executive Andrew “Boz” Bosworth admits that connecting people around the globe may have its dangers, but the positive effects of these social connections are still greater than the negatives.

“Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools. The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is ‘de facto’ good.” Mr. Bosworth wrote.

The content of the memo has been renounced by the author and by Facebook itself.

According to Facebook’s founder and owner Mark Zuckerberg, the memo was only meant to provoke debate within the company. However, the memo’s release added fuel to the fire that Facebook is facing at the moment, in the wake of the scandal of a UK based firm, Cambridge Analytica, gaining access to the personal information of millions of Facebook users during the US Presidential elections.

Critics have called out the “reckless hubristic attitude” in the memo.

Syracuse University professor Jennifer Grygiel, who studies social networks, says, “What is so striking is that an executive chose to have this conversation on a Facebook wall. He showed poor judgment and poor business communication skills. It speaks to Facebook’s culture.”

Ms. Grygiel has said that this kind of conversations must be done thoughtfully and in private, “When these companies build new products and services, their job is to evaluate the risks, and not just know about them, but ensure public safety.”

Mr. Bosworth, who is part of the inner circle of Facebook, backtracked regarding his statements on the memo, “I don’t agree with the post today and I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it.”

Mr. Zuckerberg said that he “strongly disagreed” with the points raised in the memo.