Guy Rosen is Facebook’s vice president of Product Management. But when the company published an update about the Christchurch massacre in the middle of the night on Wednesday, Rosen got a shiny new title: VP of Integrity. That is, until a journalist called Facebook out on the switch.
Guardian tech journalist Alex Hern was apparently the only one to spot the weird title change because many news sites simply published Rosen’s new title. Engadget, Venturebeat, and Global News Canada, all called Rosen the VP of Integrity in stories about the Facebook announcement.
“Facebook exec Guy Rosen is usually referred to as ‘VP of Product Management’,” Hern said in a tweet. “Yesterday, his statement on Christchurch came as ‘Head of Integrity.’ I asked whether he’d been promoted, and they silently edited the post back to ‘VP of Product Management.’”
“Why must they be like this,” Hern asked of Facebook in a follow-up tweet.
Indeed, Facebook’s announcement does list Rosen as the VP of Product Management right now, but a cached version of the release calls him the VP of Integrity.
Facebook’s press release from earlier this week explained that it was really difficult to monitor video on the platform. But Facebook was the platform of choice for a 28-year-old Australian terrorist who livestreamed his massacre at two mosques in New Zealand last Friday that killed 50 people and left dozens injured. People who were watching the livestream couldn’t report it for removal because the site’s tools only provide a “suicide” button but no “murder” button to flag it for moderators.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has been critical of social media companies in the wake of the attack, saying that they can’t be “all profit, no responsibility.” It’s now illegal to view and distribute the video of the massacre in that country and an 18-year-old New Zealand man has been arrested for both sharing the video and “inciting violence” through his online chats or postings.
What the hell is a VP of Integrity? Facebook hasn’t responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment. But we’ll definitely let you know when we hear back.
But it’s tough to argue that Facebook’s fuck-ups haven’t been of its own creation. Did you see that Facebook mishandled hundreds of millions of user passwords recently, storing them as plaintext? Those kinds of stories barely make the nightly news anymore.