Facebook launches blockchain division, overhauls management

Facebook is exploring ways to tap blockchain technology across apps on its platform.

In one of the biggest management shakeups in the history of Facebook Inc, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg ordered one of its biggest management overhauls and handed over more responsibility to its chief product officer.

Facebook also announced the launch of a blockchain division.

The management shakeup marks the consolidation of power at the sprawling social media company, although it did not involve any firing or change of role of either its CEO or Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Chris Cox, FB’s chief product officer will now take charge over its flagship Facebook service and will also oversee its widely used services including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Since its acquisition by FB in 2014 for $22 billion, WhatsApp was given a relatively free hand; however in recent months, with its two co-founders putting in their papers, have opened the doors to tighter integration.

FB also stated, Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer will oversee its divisions related to “new platforms and infrastructure” while Vice President of Growth Javier Olivan will oversee centralized services including its ads system.

As per a post by David Marcus on Facebook, he will be leaving his role and will now explore ways to tap blockchain technology across Facebook.

Blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, could have other business applications as a ledger for recording transactions, although Marcus said Facebook was “starting from scratch.”

Stan Chudnovsky, who was till now Messenger’s product chief, will succeed Marcus, said Facebook.

Chris Daniels, who till now headed Facebook’s effort to expand internet access, will now succeed Jan Koum and head head WhatsApp.

Last week, WhatsApp co-founder Koum stated he was leaving Facebook.

Brian Acton, WhatsApp’s other co-founder had already left Facebook in September to start a foundation.

WhatsApp and Messenger have each more than 1 billion users, making them among the most widely used smartphone apps globally.

Kevin Weil, head of product at Instagram, is leaving that job to join Facebook’s blockchain division, and Adam Mosseri, head of the Facebook News Feed, will succeed Weil at Instagram, the company said.


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