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Facebook loses head of product Chris Cox and WhatsApp chief Chris Daniels

Cox and Zuckerberg

Two of Facebook’s top executives – head of product Chrix Cox and WhatsApp chief Chris Daniels are leaving the company after disagreements with Mark Zuckerberg over the company’s future direction.

Differences over new single integrated privacy focused platform: The departures reportedly stemmed from Zuckerberg’s recently announced plan to integrate Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp into a single privacy-focused platform. In a public post, Cox said that Facebook is “turning a new page in our product direction, focused on an encrypted, interoperable, messaging network” and that “we will need new leaders” to take the new direction.

Cox has been with Facebook for over 13 years, and helped build and News Feed and Facebook’s mobile app, Daniels joined the company is 2011. Facebook’s leadership was reshuffled last March when Cox was given charge of all of Facebook’s apps including Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Facebook app. At the time, Daniels was promoted to WhatsApp chief, where he has “helped define the business model for our messaging services’.

Top leaders depart over past year

Facebook’s top leadership has seen turmoil over past year, Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger departed abruptly after clashing with Zuckerberg over the platform’s future. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum left over disagreements with the Facebook leadership over WhatsApp’s privacy and encryption. Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos departed and has warned the company against unbridled data collection. The company’s head for partnerships, chief legal officer, and communications head also left within the past year.

New leadership: Facebook’s head of product management Will Cathcart will now take over WhatsApp, Zuckerberg announced. Fidji Simo will now head the Facebook app. Javier Olivan, who worked with Cox on all the apps’ strategy, will now “lead identifying where our apps should be more integrated”.

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Zuckerberg added that, “Since we have now decided on the basic direction of our family of apps for the next few years, I do not plan on immediately appointing anyone to fill Chris’s [Cox] role in the near term.” Instagram and Messenger heads, Adam Mosseri and Stand Chudnovsky, will also report to Zuckerberg.

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