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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Facebook’s technology head Mike Schroepfer to step down

Mike Schroepfer said veteran leader Andrew Bosworth, who heads up the social media company's augmented reality and virtual reality efforts, will take over the role in 2022.

By: Reuters |
September 23, 2021 9:31:45 am
Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer talks about virtual reality while delivering a keynote address at the Facebook F8 Developers Conference, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Longtime Facebook executive Mike Schroepfer said on Wednesday that he was stepping down as the company’s chief technology officer.

Schroepfer said in a Facebook post that veteran leader Andrew Bosworth, who heads up the social media company’s augmented reality and virtual reality efforts, including products like its Oculus Quest VR headset, will take over the role in 2022.

Schroepfer, who is known as “Schrep” and spent 13 years at Facebook, said he would transition to a part-time role as the company’s first Senior Fellow sometime next year.

Bosworth, or “Boz,” created Facebook’s AR/VR organization, which was renamed Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) in 2020.

“As our next CTO, Boz will continue leading Facebook Reality Labs and overseeing our work in augmented reality, virtual reality and more, and as part of this transition a few other groups will join Boz’s team as well,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a message to employees that was posted on Facebook’s blog. “This is all foundational to our broader efforts helping to build the metaverse, and I’m excited about the future of this work under Boz’s leadership,” he said, referring to the Silicon Valley idea of shared spaces that merge the digital and physical worlds and can be accessed through different devices.

Facebook is under pressure from global regulators, lawmakers and civil society groups who have criticized it over abuses on its platform such as extremism and misinformation and want it to improve on a slew of issues including transparency, its content moderation and recommendation systems, and its approaches to user privacy and safety.

The company has been pushing its role in building an embodied internet, or “metaverse,” which Zuckerberg is betting will be the next big computing platform.

In July, the company said it was creating a new product team to work on these ambitions, as part of Facebook Reality Labs.

Zuckerberg said Schroepfer’s new role would include helping the company recruit and develop technical talent and foster investments in artificial intelligence.

Other central leaders who have left the company in recent months include the head of Facebook’s main app, Fidji Simo, who left to become Instacart CEO, and global ads chief Carolyn Everson, who was hired as the start-up’s president.

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