14:25 GMT17 May 2021
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    As international concern over the role of Facebook’s handling of user data becomes a regular topic of conversation among politicians and citizens alike, the company has now lost one of its primary architects.

    Facebook has announced the departure of the corporation's chief product officer, Chris Cox, along with the head of WhatsApp, Chris Daniels.

    While no explicit reason has been given for the departure of the two men, it has been heavily speculated, especially in the case of Mr Cox, that internal disagreements and unease over increasing international criticism of Facebook's conduct has played a role.

    Cox, who first joined Facebook a year after it was founded in 2005, announced his departure through a Facebook post and in a note to the company employees, according to the New York Times.

    The post read, "For over a decade, I've been sharing the same message that Mark [Zuckerberg] and I have always believed: Social media's history is not yet written, and its effects are not neutral."

    "As its builders we must endeavour to understand its impact — all the good, and all the bad — and take up the daily work of bending it towards the positive, and towards the good. This is our great responsibility," Mr Cox added.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dispatched his own note to employees following Cox's, in which he admitted that he had known for quite some time about Cox's aspirations to leave the company. 

    "Chris and I have worked closely together to build our products for more than a decade and I will always appreciate his deep empathy for the people using our services and the uplifting spirit he brings to everything he does," Mr Zuckerberg wrote.

    READ MORE: US Conducting Criminal Probe Into Facebook's Data Sharing Deals — Reports

    The Facebook chief also announced the departure of WhatsApp's main overseer, Chris Daniels, who has barely been in his post for a year. Again, as in the case of Cox, a clear reason for the departure has not been put forward by either Facebook or Mr Daniels himself. Reportedly, Daniels will be replaced by Will Cathcart, who currently runs Facebook's mobile app. No replacement has yet been announced for Mr Cox.

    Facebook has been haemorrhaging senior officials, with its general counsel, chief security officer, and co-founders of WhatsApp and Instagram all leaving during the last two years.

    The developments come amidst increasing international pressure and scrutiny of Facebook over a number of issues. Most saliently, just this week, the New York Times reported that federal prosecutors are carrying out a criminal investigation into Facebook's possible provision of data to other leading technology companies. The UK government has also become increasingly critical of Facebook, referring to Mark Zuckerberg as a "digital gangster" in a recent report and calling for an independent regulatory body to be established that can mete our fines to social media giants, namely Facebook, for not filtering out what they call "harmful content."    

    Facebook, social media, Social Media, Facebook, instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Silicon Valley, US, California
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