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. Fidji Simo, who has worked on Facebook's video startegy, will be in charge of the Facebook app, but won't have the VP of Product title Cox did. A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Cox informed Facebook about his intended departure on March 11, just five days after Zuckerberg made his privacy plan public. "At this point, we have made real progress on many issues and we have a clear plan for our apps".
A long-time Zuckerberg confidante, Cox's departure timing suggests he may not have been on board with the new corporate vision. In addition to being one of Facebook's earliest employees and a pivotal decision maker on core products like the News Feed, Cox was also widely assumed to be next in line should Mark Zuckerberg ever step away from his perch.
On Thursday, the company announced that Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and Chris Daniels, who heads Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp, are leaving. He was named the head of WhatsApp less than a year ago.More news: Captain Marvel lands at California Adventure Park ahead of Marvel expansion
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Cox and Daniels are among a string of executives who've left Facebook since 2017. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through", he said in a Facebook post on Thursday. It's a huge job for Zuckerberg and all the leaders of Facebook's apps, so it's not going to be an easy job for anyone involved.
That effort will include introducing WhatsApp encryption technology to Facebook's Messenger app and Instagram's messaging option.
Facebook didn't indicate how many of its 2.32 billion monthly active users were affected or how long its service was compromised.
While Zuckerberg also said that Cox had spoken before about his desire to leave the company, that his departure is tied directly to Facebook's so-called privacy pivot, is significant.