Two top Facebook execs are leaving the company

Cox and Zuckerberg

Cox and Zuckerberg

Neither Cox nor Zuckerberg specified what led to their split. In addition to being one of Facebook's earliest employees and a pivotal decision maker on core products like the News Feed, Cox was also widely assumed to be next in line should Mark Zuckerberg ever step away from his perch.

Zuckerberg said Cox first mentioned he might leave a few years ago, but chose to stay on after 2016 as evidence emerged that Russians had manipulated Facebook's services to provoke discord in the USA and influence the election won by President Donald Trump.

Chris Daniels, who took charge of WhatsApp after the founders' departure a year ago, is also leaving the company.

Notably, these high-level exits follow the exodus of WhatsApp founder Jan Koum in April, and Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger - co-founders of Instagram - in September, all amid rumours the Facebook "family of apps" would pursue some sort of messaging amalgam that would join its userbases on the aforementioned apps to those on Facebook Messenger.

"This is an important change as we begin the next chapter of our work building the privacy-focused social foundation of the future", Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a statement.

Facebook has seen plenty of internal rearranging over the past couple of years, as executives have left the company or moved around it into new roles. He also built Facebook's first human resources teams and oversaw the strategy for the apps that Facebook owns, Zuckerberg wrote.

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

Daniels, who had worked on Facebook initiatives in developing countries, had moved a year ago to WhatsApp, which is more popular than Facebook in many big emerging markets.

Facebook isn't hiring another executive to replace Cox. "This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through", he said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Daniels has been at Facebook almost nine years, and previously led the company's Internet.org effort, a project aimed at bringing internet access to developing countries. Once its other apps are included, this rises to 2.7...

Fidji Simo will take over as the head of the Facebook app.

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