Mike Isaac

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Square Poaches Another Facebook Ads Team Member for Data Science Post

RongYanRong Yan, a Facebook engineering manager on the ads team for the past four years, has joined commerce company Square to become the startup’s data science Lead, according to recent changes on his online bio page.

Square confirmed the move to AllThingsD.

In his new position, Yan will be responsible for handling large-scale data analysis at Square, making sense and gleaning insights from the information the company takes in.

In a way, it’s similar to his old position at Facebook on the ad relevance team where, according to his LinkedIn profile, he was responsible for “[optimizing] ads relevance by understanding what users and advertisers value, and by maintaining data and ranking quality for all Facebook ads.”

Basically, making sense of a lot of information and putting it to good use inside the company.

Previous to his time at Facebook, Yan spent three years as a researcher at IBM, and before that earned his Ph.D. in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Yan’s hiring is another in a string of recent poaches by Square, as the payments company recently hired former Facebook ad product director Gokul Rajaram to lead software development on Square Register, among other products.

Square also plucked high-ranking Googler Francoise Brougher from the search giant recently, chosen to become Square’s business lead to handle international expansion and biz-dev partnerships. And just this month, former Mozilla Director of Engineering Ben Adida joined Square as a technical team lead (though the details of his job are “under wraps for now,” according to his LinkedIn profile).

Facebook declined to comment.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik