2 top Facebook executives depart the company

Two top Facebook executives are leaving the company and it's not clear what they're moving on to

Zuckerberg said on Thursday that Chris Cox, the social networking giant's chief product officer, would be leaving. These apps have been distinct until recently, when Zuckerberg announced plans to unify them under with a new focus on privacy. The change reflects Facebook's changing audience and continued problems with serving as a conduit for misinformation and vitriol.

In his blog post, Zuckerberg said that Cox had told him several years ago that he planned to move on, but that Cox chose to hold off on leaving until the company made more progress combating misinformation and Russian interference - controversies that erupted in the wake of the 2016 election. "He would not be leaving at this challenging time if there wasn't something else going on".

"Most all my personal highs and lows of the last decade have been tied up in the journey of this company, with Mark, and with so many of you", Cox wrote in a post. "This place will forever be a part of me". He pocketed $310 million in gains from exercising Facebook stock options from 2014 through 2017 alone, according to the company's filings with securities regulators.

Facebook's Chief of Product officer Chris Cox was long one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's top deputies
SUNDAY ALAMBA APFacebook's Chief of Product officer Chris Cox was long one of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's top deputies

Chris Cox, Facebook's VP of Product, and Chris Daniels, who has lead WhatsApp since the departure of founder Jan Koum, are both leaving the company.

In addition to Cox, Zuckerberg also said on Thursday that Chris Daniels, vice president of WhatsApp, is stepping down.

The departures of Cox and Daniels come a day after a technical issue that limited use of Facebook and Instagram for most of Wednesday.

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Cox was in charge of Facebook's apps including its flagship social media site, as well as Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Founding executives of Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp have also recently left the company.

Originally published March 14, 1:19 p.m. Update, 1:48 p.m.: Includes more background and Zuckerberg's post to employees; 1:55 p.m.: Adds background about other executive departures; 2:15 p.m.: Includes post from Chris Cox. Meanwhile, Javier Olivan will lead the effort to better integrate the Facebook apps. Zuckerberg wants to encrypt user content and make posts, messages, and photos ephemeral, much like Snapchat.

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Forrester analyst Jessica Liu said it sounded like Cox was "subtly disagreeing" with Zuckerberg's privacy memo, based on Cox's farewell post.

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