The Facebook engineer who wrote a controversial memo decrying the company’s ‘intolerant’ culture is leaving
by Rob Price
Brian Amerige, the Facebook engineer who sparked a firestorm at Facebook with his criticism of what he called a “political monoculture” that is “intolerant” of conservatism, is leaving the company.
In an internal message to fellow employees on Wednesday, Amerige wrote: “These problems can be solved — just not by me, not any more, at least. I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that’s how I know it’s time to go.”
In the message, seen by Business Insider, he said he is starting a company with his friend “at the intersection of applied philosophy epistemology, specifically) and technology.”
In August Amerige, who identifies politically as objectivist, wrote an internal memo decrying what he described as the Silicon Valley’s company’s “intolerant” culture. “We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views … we claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology,” we wrote.
His writing subsequently sparked an internal group, “FB’ers for Political Diversity,” where dozens conservative employees protested the company’s practices. Posters promoting the group and attacking the “outrage mob” appeared around campus, and debates among employees have broken out across Facebook Workplace over the company’s approach to politics.
There have also previously been some incidents in which Facebook employees have refused to work with or talk to certain colleagues because of their political beliefs, an employee previously told Business Insider.
Amerige’s last day will be on Friday, he wrote in his message. “I’ve been thinking about this for almost a year, and though a certain leak delayed me a bit, I know it’s time for me to move on,” he wrote. “I’m not leaving because ‘it’s time for something new.'”
He wrote:”I’m leaving because I’m burnt out on Facebook, our strategy, ur culture, and our product.
“Strategically, we’ve taken a stance on how to balance offensive and hateful speech with free expression. We’ve accepted the inevitability of government regulation. And we’ve refused to defend ourselves in the press. Our policy strategy is pragmatism — not clear, implementable long-term principles — and our PR strategy is appeasement — not morally earned pride and self-defense.”
A Facebook spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
This story is developing…
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Ameriige on values…
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About the writer
Rob Price is a news editor at Business Insider, based in San Francisco. He reports on Facebook and Silicon Valley, as well as breaking British news.
He was previously a senior reporter for Business Insider in London, reporting on big tech business, policy, and the gig economy. Before that he worked as a staff writer for The Daily Dot. His writing has been published in or syndicated by Vice, The Washington Post, The Independent, Slate, and elsewhere.
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