back to article Meta disbands Responsible Innovation team, spreads it out over Facebook and co

Facebook parent Meta has disbanded its Responsible Innovation Team (RIT) that it claimed last year was a central part of efforts to "proactively surface and address potential harms to society in all that we build."  A Meta spokesperson confirmed the change to the WSJ yesterday. The RIT previously included two dozen engineers, …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I expect this will go as well as it did when MS disbanded their Trustworthy Computing unit and firing members/placing them elsewhere.

    MS management had no interest in reliability as it's not agile enough, Facebook has no interest in responsibile innovation as they see it as a cost.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yup, the idea doesn't work the way they say they want it to

      When you break up a dedicated team and spread it around you destroy any momentum the team had by spreading the impact of the individual team members against the inertia of the team they are thrown into.

      They come in as the least senior member, they have to learn all of the teams shared knowledge, and generally end up on the bottom of the pecking order, or resented for being inserted at the top. So when they try to influence the teams decisions, they are automatically out voted. Nothing changes.

      The dissolution of trustworthy computing at M$ preceded a rapid devolution in software quality. Ironically, one of the main public justifications was that the team was causing delays in releases by forcing quality improvements and putting too much priority on technical debt. The result was that quality plummeted and the rated of missed deadline got worse instead of better.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "massive losses trying to prop up Zuckerberg's vision of the metaverse"

    Um, that's not a scandal, that's just El Zuck wasting his money as he wishes.

    He has that right, and the other investors can just Zuck it up.

  3. Jan K.

    "proactively surface and address potential harms to society in all that we build"

    Of course they had to be disbanded... who ever would have wanted such a long list over at meta??

  4. DS999 Silver badge

    They have replaced it

    With an irresponsible innovation team, to better align with their business model.

    1. EnviableOne

      Re: They have replaced it

      "move fast and break things"

      Laws are things

      Ethical norms are things

  5. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    What innovation?

    "These <insert country>s are crazy" gets you a ban. Yes, citing Asterix the Gaul is enough. At least if you use the German "Die spinnen, die <insert country here>" - 30 days ban from posting in groups for posting hate speech. Does that innovation work for the British version of that sentence as well? Any volunteers to test?

    Another one got banned for (translated) "You should not bath cats, unless there is a medical reason!" for spreading dangerously false medical information.

    Yep, Fecebook innovation.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: What innovation?

      Ils sont fous, ces Facebookers

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: What innovation?

        Would have to test this! Or let a friend test this...

  6. aerogems Silver badge

    Maybe not a void

    I'm sure some executives got a good laugh out of reading some of their recommendations before just going ahead with the exact opposite because it would make their bonuses larger. Who cares if society is ripped apart at the seams, or the planet becomes uninhabitable for human life. That's a Q4 problem!

  7. JDPower666

    20 people, spread out across the whole company? Isn't that approaching homeopathic levels of uselessness?

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      approaching homeopathic levels of uselessness

      This is exactly the objective.

  8. Kev99 Silver badge

    Another over-reaching software house deciding the hell with being at all responsible to its users. First, FB redesign the web site nto something totally mucked about. Then it removes the option to have ALL notifications / news feeds sorted by age (newest first) and now it's getting rid of its responsible innovation team. The old adage has been proven true again - "Absolute power corrupts absolutely".

    1. iron Silver badge

      Facebook started as a website to rate women on how hot they are. It was licentious and corrupt to begin with.

      Unfortunately for everyone in the world who is not Zuck, in this case absolute corruption lead to absolute power (over social media).

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Not to be confused with Hot or Not website!

        Just try viewing the website without a Farcebook login... redirects to...

        Icon for Where's Paris Hilton Icon!!

  9. Dinanziame Silver badge

    Ethicists are not like lawyers

    It always comes as a shock to companies that the ethicists they hire are not, in fact, always defending the viewpoint of their employers.

  10. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Dem algorithms dough

    I once saw faecesbook label a senate hearing as fake news, I shit you not

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Dem algorithms dough

      Knowing the average level of US Senate "debate", that seems accurate.

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Dem algorithms dough

      Depends on the hearing, in my experience.

  11. nijam Silver badge

    > proactively surface and address potential harms to society in all that we build...

    ... ensure that all those harms continue in place?

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