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Facebook’s product chief returns after departing over ‘artistic differences’

Chris Cox speaks at Facebook's F8 developer conference in 2018.
Chris Cox speaks at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in 2018. Cox is returning to Facebook as chief product officer a year after leaving over a shift to encrypted messaging and other unspecified disagreements.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Chris Cox, who spent more than a decade as one of Facebook Inc.’s most senior executives before departing last year, is returning to the embattled social media giant as chief product officer.

“Facebook and our products have never been more relevant to our future,” Cox wrote in a post on the social network announcing his move. “It’s the place I know best, it’s a place I’ve helped to build, and it’s the best place for me to roll up my sleeves and dig in to help.”

Cox was overseeing all of Facebook’s apps when he announced his resignation last March, in part because he disagreed with the company’s decision to shift more aggressively to encrypted messaging. His departure was seen as a major blow, considering his seniority and relationship to Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg — the two are close friends and their families have vacationed together over the years.

Cox returns at an important time as Facebook prepares for the 2020 U.S. presidential election — something the company has made a priority after revelations that its apps were used by foreign actors during the 2016 campaign to spread misinformation and sow division.

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“In the past month the world has grown more chaotic and unstable, which has only given me more resolve to help out,” Cox wrote. “Our most important decisions and products are ahead of us.”


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