Facebook's Chief Product Officer and Head of WhatsApp Just Left the Company

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Facebook's top executive in charge of all products, Chris Cox, the longtime confidant of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, is leaving the company, the highest-level departure at the social media giant and follows almost two years of sustained crises.

The surprise exits come after Zuckerberg announced last week that the company aims to focus less on public posts and more on private conversations across its Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp apps. Facebook's chief product officer, Chris Cox, and Chris Daniels, who heads the messaging app WhatsApp, are departing.

The company does not immediately plan to fill Cox's role, Zuckerberg said, adding that Cathcart, Simo and the heads of Instagram and Messenger will now report directly to him.

Zuckerberg said in a separate blog post on the same day that the veteran executive had considered moving on several years ago but stayed around after 2016.

Zuckerberg phrased that more delicately, noting that "We both realized we had too much important work to do to improve our products for society".

Cox joined Facebook in 2005 and is largely responsible for the News Feed, one of Facebook's foundational features.

Product officer Chris Cox speaks at the first day of the social media week at the Landmark centre in Lagos Nigeria. Two top Facebook executives are leaving the company including Cox who
Facebook loses two important executives amid new privacy push

Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook would emphasize user privacy more via encrypted messaging, a significant directional shift from the company's long-time goal of openness and connectedness.

Cox and Daniels are among a string of executives who've left Facebook since 2017.

Cox's departure removes a layer of management, bringing Zuckerberg closer to a family of apps that he wants to make compatible.

He did point out Facebook is "turning a new page" by focusing more on messaging and encryption.

The departures follow the resignations of Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and WhatsApp's co-founder Jan Koum previous year. It's a product vision attuned to the subject matter of today: a modern communications platform that balances expression, safety, security, and privacy. In a memo to employees, Zuckerberg suggested the events were linked.

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