Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Tim Bray’s Exit From Amazon Echoes the Criticism Levelled by Former Executives at Facebook

Casey Newton, writing in his excellent newsletter:

Facebook learned this lesson in 2018. The Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, along with outrage over Russian interference on the platform during the 2016 US presidential election, ravaged internal morale. This, in turn, made it harder for Facebook to recruit — with acceptances of Facebook job offers dropping as much as 50 percent in 2019. And it led to a series of high-profile denunciations from company co-founders, early employees, and top executives.

That’s what makes Bray’s exit so significant. It signals the arrival of a new moment in Amazon’s crisis — one of open dissent at the upper echelons of the company. Amazon famously asks employees on the losing end of an argument to “disagree and commit.” Bray suggests that at least on the subject of working conditions, high-level employees who disagree would rather clear out.

It’s not just what Bray said in his post, it’s what it means for Amazon: there is a fundamental problem at the company if an executive feels that the only way they can make a difference is to air observed ethical failures in public. Former higher-ups at Facebook clearly had similar impressions of their employer.