Facebook engineer Brian Amerige, who wrote an internal memo in which he decried the social media giant’s "intolerant" corporate culture, has quit the company. In the memo to Facebook colleagues on Wednesday, Amerige wrote that he "disagree[s] too strongly with where we're heading on these issues to watch what happens next." Amerige told his colleagues: "I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that's how I know it's time to go." Amerige announced in his memo that he is kicking off his own company "at the intersection of applied philosophy epistemology, specifically) and technology."
The American tech industry, which includes Google, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, is mostly progressive in its political orientation and has been increasingly criticized for what its critics call its “political correctness.” When Google engineer James Damore wrote an internal memo that denounced the company’s “Ideological Echo Chamber," he was ultimately fired. When Amerige of Facebook wrote his own memo about Facebook earlier this year, he was dubbed "Facebook's aspiring James Damore."
He came to public attention in August because of his internal memo that denounced the “intolerant” culture extant in Silicon Valley. Amerige wrote, "We are a political monoculture that's intolerant of different views ... we claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology."
Amerige’s memo sparked the creation of the internal group “FB ‘ers for Political Diversity” that posted on Facebook's Workplace message board. There, dissidents denounced Facebook corporate practices and policies. Thereafter, posters appeared on the Facebook corporate campus that promoted the group and assailed the reigning "outrage mob." Internal debates ensued over Facebook’s policy towards politics.
Amerige noted in his Wednesday memo that his last day is on Friday. “I've been thinking about this for almost a year, and though a certain leak delayed me a bit, I know it's time for me to move on," he wrote. "I'm not leaving because 'it's time for something new.'"
Amerige wrote: "I'm leaving because I'm burnt out on Facebook, our strategy, our culture, and our product.
"Strategically, we've taken a stance on how to balance offensive and hateful speech with free expression. We've accepted the inevitability of government regulation. And we've refused to defend ourselves in the press. Our policy strategy is pragmatism — not clear, implementable long-term principles — and our PR strategy is appeasement — not morally earned pride and self-defense."
Amerige professed that he remains “in love as ever” with the company mission. However, he said, “I disagree too strongly with where we're heading on these issues to watch what happens next. These issues hang over my head each morning, and I don't want to spend all of my time fighting about them."
"My departure isn't because I think these issues are intractable. These problems can be solved — just not by me, nor anymore, at least," Amerige wrote. "I care too deeply about our role in supporting free expression and intellectual diversity to even whole-heartedly attempt the product stuff anymore, and that's how I know it's time to go."
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.