Facebook has dissolved its “Responsible Innovation” team. The group was tasked with discovering potential downsides of the products that Facebook develops and releases. Meta, the parent company of the social media platform, has assured that its products would still remain safe and ethical.
The Responsible Innovation team had about two dozen engineers, ethicists, and experts who worked with other product development teams within Meta. The team also collaborated with external privacy experts, academics, and users. While the group’s job description was quite broad, it was responsible for identifying and possibly addressing potential concerns about new products and alterations to Meta’s products.
The team was tasked with trying to prevent potential harmful implications of poor design choices from causing actual harm. Had the team remained functional at Meta, it would have also played a “formative role in future company products, beginning with encouraging newly hired engineers in how to think about potential downsides to what they build and then consulting on the design of specific products,” reported The Wall Street Journal.
The team was reportedly involved in the decision to not let users of Facebook's dating app filter results by race.
While confirming the news, Eric Porterfield, a spokesperson for Meta, has assured that the company “remains committed to the team’s goals”. In other words, Meta would continue to ensure its products uphold and protect civil rights, accessibility, and human rights, and ensure the safety of its users.
The members of the now-disbanded Responsible Innovation team will still have work opportunities at Meta. However, “they aren’t guaranteed new jobs,” according to Porterfield.
Source: The Wall Street Journal