After a very high-profile departure from the company and a year away, former Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox will return to his long-standing position with the company.
Cox shared the news on Thursday in a Facebook post with a photo of his company badge. In detail on his return to Facebook, Cox reported that the unique national and global climate of 2020 influenced his decision, particularly the epidemic of coronavirus virus, its subsequent economic catastrophe and the nation’s current “focus on retaliation for racial injustice”.
Cox wrote, “Like many of you, I was thinking a lot about what we can do for our families and communities today, and our children in the world will be there tomorrow.”
“Facebook and our products have never been more relevant to our future. This is the place I know best, it’s a place I’ve helped build, and it’s the best place for me to roll up my sleeves and dig in to help. “
Cox has played a key role in shaping Facebook for years, both broadly in terms of products and company culture. One of Facebook’s earliest engineers, Cox came on board 15 years ago and in 2008 began working on Facebook’s product team. He moved into the role of Chief Product Officer in 2014, being close to Mark Zuckerberg throughout his tenure.
In particular, Cox criticized Facebook’s hands-up approach to political advertising late last year, a company formed after he left. Cox, who also expressed his displeasure with Trump at the time, suggested that fact-checking was necessary for political advertisements, though its execution needed to be biased. In his time away from Facebook, Cox worked as a consultant for Acronym, a non-profit organization working on digital campaign tools for Democrats.
Facebook’s choice not to fact-check its political advertisements was one of the recent decisions designed to align the company more favorably with its conservative critics. In Recent Comments, A former chief technology officer at Facebook, observed that the company is “afraid of Republicans” in drafting platform policies that conduct political ads.
On the same day as Cox’s return announcement, Facebook responded to criticism from Joe Biden’s campaign that the company defended Trump’s own executive order, criticizing President Trump for attacking moderation decisions by social media companies.
Cox’s decision to leave last year was seen as a huge setback for the company, which has suffered from a stream of high-profile departures in recent years. Cox’s return is good news for Facebook, which is currently in the midst of open dissent over a post by the president, in which Minneapolis police threatened protesters after killing an unarmed black man, George Floyd.
Cox notes that in his absence the company was “encouraged by progress on so many big issues” over the previous year, although it is not immediately clear what issues he was referring to, particularly the company’s In the light of fresh internal controversy. .
“In the last month the world has become more chaotic and unstable, which has given me more resolve to just help,” Cox said. “Our most important decisions and products are ahead of us.”
He is right to say that Facebook’s role in election campaigning and public and political discourse during the 2020 US election is more central than ever.