John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Facebook: Don't Be Evil

Who says Google (GOOG) is hoarding Silicon Valley’s tech talent? In August of 2007, Gideon Yu, a Valley train-hopper with stints at Yahoo (YHOO) and then YouTube, resigned from his position at the video-sharing site shortly after it was acquired by the search engine to become CFO of Facebook. A few months later, Benjamin “bling” Ling, described as one of “Larry and Sergey’s golden boys,” left Google to run Facebook’s platform program. Then this past March, Sheryl Sandberg, Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations, bailed to join the social network as chief operating officer. Ethan Beard, Google’s director of social media, followed shortly after, taking a job as Facebook’s director of business development.

Now another prominent Googler has train-hopped to the popular social-networking company as well. As first reported by BoomTown, Elliot Schrage, vice president of global communications and public affairs at Google, is leaving the search sovereign to become Facebook’s vice president of communications and public policy.

“[Elliot Schrage] will be responsible for developing the key messages we want people to understand about our products, our business and the growing global importance of social networking and what we do,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an email to employees announcing the hire. “The goal here is to help people understand how the Internet can strengthen people’s relationships. Elliot will direct our efforts to work with users, media, governments and other entities around the world to ensure that Facebook’s policies are transparent, responsive, effective and are recognized as being those things. … This is a really important role for us and one that we’ve been trying to find the right person for a while. Elliot’s role will be critical to helping us scale based on our culture that values transparency, openness and honest internal communications.”

“Elliot’s role will be critical to helping us scale based on our culture that values transparency, openness, and honest internal communications”?

Clearly, Zuckerberg meant “build from the ground up a culture that values transparency, openness and honest internal communications.” Because it’s only been about six months since the Beacon fiasco, which demonstrated how grievously the company was lacking in those qualities (see “ Is Sending a Story to Your Profile,” “Epicurious Has Added a Potential Privacy Violation to Your Facebook Profile,” “Fiascobook,” and “Fiascobook, Redux“).

Perhaps if Facebook recruits enough former Googlers, it too will be able to lay claim to a silly informal motto like “Don’t Be Evil.”

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle