The “responsible innovations” team of Meta (Facebook), it’s over

The functioning of the team set up to think about projects in an ethical way no longer suited Meta, who decided to dissolve it. Responsible innovation employees worked on safety, health, environment and other issues.

To compensate for the potential adverse effects of its products and services (on the safety and health of its users, but also on the environment), Facebook — now Meta — had set up a work team dedicated to innovation responsible. Made up of around thirty engineers, academics and ethics specialists, this Responsible Innovation Team, which worked with more than 100 product development teams, has just been dissolved.

Meta says it remains very committed to the objectives set by this team, indicating that most of its members will continue to work on these issues in other positions within the company. the wall street journal nevertheless indicates that no new employment has been guaranteed to them. According to spokesperson Eric Porterfield, this decision was justified by Meta by indicating that better results were obtained with smaller teams devoted to the ethical component of specific projects.

Involvement at many ethical levels

The role of this team was, in particular, to train the company’s engineers to constantly bear in mind the potential perverse effects of their projects from their design, in order to guarantee a high level of ethics in all that was undertaken. Of course, at Meta, the emphasis has long been on user security, which is not surprising given the storms Facebook has been through on the personal data front.

More recently, the revelations of Frances Haugen had highlighted the need to take care of the mental health of users of social networks. Finally, in recent months, the Responsible Innovation Team had integrated the company’s ecological ambitions into its prerogatives. Like most other tech giants, Facebook is committed — in 2020 — to achieve carbon neutrality, even if beyond sobriety measures, this objective will be achieved through the purchase of carbon credits.

This announcement is made at a crucial time: Mark Zuckerberg’s company is recently seeking to reinvent itself by betting big on the rise of metaverses, a concept renewing the uses of the Internet around mixed realities, including adoption by the general public. remains very uncertain to this day.

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