Chris Cox, who left Facebook more than a year ago after a disagreement with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said Thursday that he would return to Facebook as chief product officer (CPO),media reported. “Facebook has never been more relevant to our future than it is before,” Cox wrote in a Facebook post announcing the return. “
Cox is understood to have worked on Facebook for 13 years before leaving in 2019. During his time at the company, he was responsible for the social networking company’s news subscriptions and other key products. He also led the product and design team and formed Facebook’s first human resources team.
In the meantime, however, Cox and Zuckerberg clashed over plans to integrate Facebook’s messaging apps, encrypt Instagram and Messenger messages by default. Encrypting these services could make it harder for law enforcement to crack down on online child sexual abuse. Privacy advocates, on the other hand, argue that encryption protects dissidents, victims of domestic violence and others. At the Wired meeting after his departure, Mr. Cox said he and Mr. Zuckerberg “have a little bit of a different view of things.” However, Cox also said there was another reason he left the company, which is that after 13 years at the company, he wanted to do something other than social media.
After leaving Facebook, Cox became a consultant to Thefort, a progressive nonprofit. In the post, he said he played with his reggae band last year, spent time with his children and friends, and was working on climate change initiatives. At the Wired conference, Cox said Donald Trump “shouldn’t be our president” because he would n’etre helping to tackle climate change.
Cox’s return to Facebook comes at a time of tension for the company. Employees criticized Zuckerberg for not verifying politicians’ ads and posts, and for not deleting posts that Trump might incite violence. On Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign called on Facebook to verify the facts of all political ads before they run.
“Chris’s going back to Facebook, I’m really excited!” Zuckerberg said in a post about Cox’s return. A source close to Facebook said employees were pleased with Cox’s return.
Cox also said in the post that he was encouraged by Facebook’s progress on some of the “biggest issues we face.”