July 15, 2024

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Chris Cox says he’s returning to Facebook as chief product officer to ‘dig in to help’

Facebook's Chris Cox

Chris Cox was at Facebook for 13 years before he left in 2019. 

James Martin/CNET

Chris Cox, who left Facebook over a year ago amid disagreements with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said Thursday that he’s returning to the social network as chief product officer.

“Facebook and our products have never been more relevant to our future. It’s the place I know best, it’s a place I’ve helped to build, and it’s the best place for me to roll up my sleeves and dig in to help,” he said in a post on Facebook announcing his return. 

Cox was at Facebook for 13 years before he left in 2019. During his time at the company, he’s worked on the social network’s News Feed and other key products. He led the product and design teams and also built Facebook’s first human resources teams.

But Cox also butted heads with Zuckerberg over plans to integrate Facebook’s messaging apps. At the Wired conference after his departure, Cox said that Zuckerberg and him both “saw things a little bit differently.” But he also wanted to do something outside of social media after 13 years at the company so he left.

During his time away from Facebook, Cox became an advisor to Acronym, a progressive nonprofit. He also said in the post that last year he worked on climate change initiatives, played with his reggae band, and spent time with his kids and friends.  

“In the past month the world has grown more chaotic and unstable, which has only given me more resolve to help out. Our most important decisions and products are ahead of us.,” he said in the post.

Cox’s return to Facebook comes at a tense time for the company. Employees have criticized Zuckerberg for not fact checking ads and posts from politicians or leaving up content from President Trump they say could incite violence.

Facebook has faced a string of executive departures as it weathered a number of scandals including over user privacy. Oculus co-founder and former CEO Brendan Iribe, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, WhatApp’s Brian Acton and Jan Koum and Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey have all left the company. None of the other employees have returned. 

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