On Thursday, BuzzFeed published a controversial internal Facebook memo titled “The Ugly.” It features Facebook Vice President Andrew Bosworth’s 2016 reflections on the company’s aggressive efforts to connect people—and their fraught implications.
So far, Facebook is standing by its VP, who said this about his intentions on Twitter: “I don’t agree with the post today and I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it. The purpose of this post, like many others I have written internally, was to bring to the surface issues I felt deserved more discussion with the broader company.”
That seems consistent with the intentionally provocative way that the memo was phrased.
We connect people.
That can be good if they make it positive. Maybe someone finds love. Maybe it even saves the life of someone on the brink of suicide. So we connect more people.
That can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools.
And still we connect people.
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.
He adds, “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.”