Facebook Loses Key Player
June 18, 2018
Facebook has been dealing with a lot of heat due to scandals materializing seemingly out of nowhere, and with the latest court proceedings digging up dirt the public didn’t even realize existed. Now, it appears the social media giant will be facing the music one man down, as Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s long time Communications and Public Policy leader steps down after more than ten years with the company. The announcement came just last week, causing a unanimous reaction of shock to resound throughout the Facebook community.
While this change in players might not affect social media users, overall, it will mean drastic changes for the platform itself. Schrage, voiced his opinion online, suggesting that the sudden change had to do with stress and politics within the position. He said that working for companies like Facebook left little room for other activities and that it was intense.
Change in Personnel
One thing that tends to happen to large companies when faced with adversary is a change in management. Higher ups are often rotated out or recycled in the hopes that fresh faces will help to appease shareholders and stifle flames before they turn into full blown fires. A sudden bold move like this for Facebook already has the public talking. While Schrage made public that he had discussed his leaving with CEO, Zuckerberg and COO, Sandberg, it makes one wonder if the sudden loss wasn’t as planned as it seems.
Leaders for Facebook have suggested that Schrage will keep on with the company, working on special projects for advisory purposes only. Zuckerberg and team responded to Schrage’s public acknowledgement of his retirement with gratitude and kindness, thanking him and reiterating the work he’d done for Facebook over the years.
Among the many roles Schrage played, enforcing standards on data and sharing was an important one, and at a critical crossroads now while it is examined publicly in court. Schrage has been praised for his work, but again, the timing seems to suggest that there may be some untold story behind the departure.
Continuing to Work Unofficially
Working as special projects advisor takes Schrage out of the hot seat but leaves him in the action. Zuckerberg has voiced publicly that he looks forward to their continued partnership, making the public wonder whether stepping down was much of a change at all. Is Schrage a scapegoat? Is he making this move based on a true need to take time away and do something more with his time? Or, could this all be a ruse designed to take heat off of the fire currently burning out of control in the public eye.
The Cambridge Analytical Debacle
Last year it came to light that more than 87-million people had private information harvested, stored, and sold to companies connected to Facebook to continue long-going projects linked to this user data. Facebook had reported a stop to their data leaking back in 2015, but actually continued supplying such information to certain companies ongoing. Data leakage alone is enough to put the public up in arms against the Facebook giant, and the company lost thousands of followers and saw stocks plummet as the world learned of their misdeeds.
However, data mining alone wasn’t the issue that Cambridge Analytical posed, and which Facebook is now paying for. It was the company’s use of the information for the last U.S. presidential election. Following the news of Facebook’s affiliation with the company, it came to light that data mined from users may have been used to turn their heads toward certain candidates before vote time. This may have been accomplished through the development and distribution of advertisements and other types of communication.
Following the uproar which came with public knowledge of the incident, Schrage was a leader in the efforts to minimize damage and respond to the public. Unfortunately, Facebook was criticized heavily for their response, with many suggesting that the company didn’t respond adequately or quickly enough.
Whether Schrage is being released from his position at Facebook on good or bad terms, his goodbye touched on many positive experiences he’d had with the company. The letter, which was published online, specified some of the things which Schrage loved about his time with Facebook, including celebrating their Faceversaries, which is the anniversary of an employee’s start date within the company. After a 10th Faceversary, employees are encouraged to share a personal story from their time with the company. Schrage expressed that he had done this, and during his speech at the company meeting, he talked about changes made within the company since his start date back in 2008.
In the letter, Schrage reminisces about the evolution of the news feed and the dawn of photo tagging. He expressed that these innovative terms and technologies were never seen before Facebook initiated them, making the company a force to be reckoned with. The letter also touched on risks taken within the company, some of them being called “controversial” by Schrage. This might be taken to point fingers at some of the recent actions which have come under scrutiny in court. Schrage went on to say that risks are necessary for the type of changes the company wanted to make.
It certainly seems that both Facebook and Schrage will miss the relationship but are looking forward to moving upward and onward with a continued but different type of working relationship. Will Schrage stay an integral part of the Facebook team, or is this really the end of his time within the company? We’ll have to wait and see.