Meta disbands team responsible for ensuring Facebook products are ethical
Facebook’s parent company Meta has dissolved the Responsible Innovation team responsible for monitoring ethical concerns about its products as the company and other tech giants cut costs amid sluggish growth.
The team consisted of about two dozen engineers, ethicists, and others who worked with product teams across the company to assess potential concerns about products and features, but being split, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday
Most of those employees will be transferred to other teams within the company, although their jobs are not guaranteed, a company spokesperson said.
A Meta spokesperson told DailyMail.com that the company’s commitment to responsible product design had not waned, saying in a statement, “This work is more priority than ever, not less.”
“We are scaling it up by deploying dedicated teams of experts in priority product areas and have more people working on responsible innovation within product teams than we did two years ago,” the statement added.
“That’s why the vast majority of former members of this team continue to do this kind of work elsewhere at Meta.”
It’s because a number of tech companies, including Uber, Alphabet, Apple and Twitter, have scaled down hiring and dumped contractor positions, while others, like Netflix, have laid off full-time staff.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned of budget cuts and now the company has dissolved the Responsible Innovation responsible for auditing ethical concerns about its products
Meta’s Responsible Innovation team was led by Vice President Margaret Gould Stewart.
In June 2021, Stewart wrote in a company blog post that the team was created to ‘help product teams identify potential harm across a broad spectrum of societal issues and dilemmas’.
“We create standards, tools and guidelines for responsible innovation practices in our apps and services,” she added.
The shake-up comes as Meta and other Silicon Valley giants chase cost-cutting as inflation and weakening ad sales stunt growth and reduce profits.
In late July, after Meta reported that profits had shrunk 36 percent from a year ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned investors on a conference call, “A lot of teams are going to shrink so we can move energy to other areas.”
Meta’s Responsible Innovation team was led by Vice President Margaret Gould Stewart, seen above at a 2017 conference
Zuckerberg also recently said he will weed out underperforming employees with “aggressive performance reviews” as the company braces for a deep economic downturn.
Last month, Meta fired a group of 60 contractors who were reported to have been randomly selected by an algorithm.
The contractors were hired through Accenture in their Austin office, a company that has a deal worth nearly half a billion dollars a year to provide the company with employees with moderate content and business integrity.
The layoffs were announced during a video conference on Tuesday and were not immediately offered new jobs or transfers, Accenture said. Business Insider.
And earlier in the summer, Meta reorganized its entire AI team, including folding the Responsible AI group into its Social Impact team.
The shake-up comes as Meta and other Silicon Valley giants chase cost-cutting as inflation and weakening ad sales stunt growth and reduce profits
Meta isn’t the only tech giant to warn of cost cuts and hints of potential layoffs.
Earlier this week, Alphabet’s CEO hinted at potential job losses as he wants the company to become “20 percent more efficient” after years of rapid hiring.
Sundar Pichai, 50, spoke at Code Conference in Los Angeles Tuesday night, where he said he wants to make the tech giant, which owns Google, more efficient amid economic uncertainty brought on by decades-high inflation and a slowdown in ad spending. according to CNBC.
In July, Alphabet said in a regulatory filing that it will slow the pace of hiring for the rest of the year due to decades of high inflation.
Pichai also told the conference on Tuesday that the company has “slowed down” in productivity after its workforce has exploded over the past five years, and that one way to make it more efficient was to sell competing products, such as YouTube Music and Google Play. Music, merge.
In August, Apple fired many of its contract-based recruiters after warning it would slow hiring and cut spending.
Sundar Pichai, 50, said at Code Conference (pictured) that he plans to make Google more efficient by limiting the number of people who have to make decisions in anticipation of a slowdown in ad spend
Apple let go of about 100 contractors responsible for vetting and hiring new employees, people familiar with the case said Bloomberg.
In July, Apple reportedly warned staff about plans to slow staff growth and spending next year in some divisions.
In May, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced plans to lay off 10 percent of his salaried staff because he had “a really bad feeling about the economy.”
Netflix, which has struggled with two consecutive quarters of net subscriber losses, cut its workforce by 150 in May and another 300 in June.
Google parent Alphabet also said last month it would slow the pace of hiring for the rest of the year.
Amazon is reportedly thinning the ranks of its hourly workers through attrition, and recently halted construction on six new office buildings in Bellevue and Nashville.