Internal Facebook Memo Leaks Defending Data Collection, Detailing “Growth At Any Cost”

The problems just keep coming for Facebook this week, as a 2016 internal memo from Vice President Andrew “Boz” Bosworth leaked that defended the site’s data practices and acknowledged that it could be used as a platform to harm people.

The memo, titled “The Ugly,” is so controversial because it proves that high-ranking Facebook executives knew the risks posed by the company’s platform, all while publically downplaying the problem. In the course of the memo, Bosworth stated that all actions the company takes to promote growth are justified, even if they lead to bad outcomes — like questionable data practices, bullying and even violence.

Bosworth distanced himself from the post and deleted it, and Mark Zuckerberg weighed in stating that he personally disagrees with this “growth at any cost” philosophy. The reaction from Facebook employees has been split, with some questioning why the memo was leaked in the first place and others criticizing Boswell for deleting it.  

“Deleting things usually looks bad in retrospect,” one employee wrote, according to a report from The Verge. “Please don’t feed the fire by giving these individuals more fuel (eg, Facebook execs deleting internal communications). If we are no longer open and transparent, and instead lock-down and delete, then our culture is also destroyed — but by our own hand.”

This is a small controversy compared to other ones Facebook is currently dealing with, but there’s no question the company didn’t need more negative publicity this month.