Tech: Facebook has started hemorrhaging key executives, and the timing couldn't be worse

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook has lost six key executives over the past year, following the departure of Instagram cofounders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. It means CEO Mark Zuckerberg is without critical talent at a time when Facebook is trying to get back on its feet following a series of disastrous body blows.

  • Facebook has lost six key executives over the past year, following the departure of Instagram cofounders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.
  • It means CEO Mark Zuckerberg is without critical talent at a time when Facebook is trying to get back on its feet following a series of disastrous body blows.
  • Without key executives around him, his job will not get easier.

For years, Facebook's top bench of executives has been a vision of stability. Not anymore.

The abrupt resignations of Instagram cofounders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, on Monday contributed to a growing sense that the serenity around Mark Zuckerberg is becoming a hot mess.

They are the fifth and sixth major names to leave Facebook since September last year. Here's the full list in chronological order:

  • September 2017: WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton.
  • April 2018: WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum.
  • June 2018: VP of Communications and Public Policy, Elliot Schrage.
  • August 2018: Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos.
  • September 2018: Instagram cofounders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.

It comes just months after Recode published a detailed analysis on how no one leaves Facebook, and that the company's top team has overcome controversy and reshuffles to stick around longer than the average tech CEO in the S&P 500.

All have quit for different reasons. But it stacks up to the same problem: Zuckerberg is losing critical talent at a time when Facebook is trying to get back on its feet following a series of disastrous body blows.

Zuckerberg is spinning plates including data breaches, fake news, hate speech, inappropriate content, and election interference, all of which played a part in a disastrous second quarter for Facebook, wiping around $120 billion of its value in a single day of trading.

WhatsApp was blamed for a string of lynchings sparked by hoaxes in India. Instagram recommended potential child exploitation through its new TV service, IGTV. Both apps are now leaderless.

Facebook remains a target for election meddling ahead of the US midterms in November, but it has no head of security. And the company's public image has scarcely been so vulnerable, and yet its communications chief left the building in June.

Zuckerberg is looking increasingly isolated at a time when his personal mission is to fix Facebook. Without key executives around him, his job will not get easier.

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