In December 2021, Facebook announced the departure of its head of policy, Joel Kaplan, and its vice president of global public policy, Monika Bickert. However, another notable departure that went under the radar was that of Rob Leathern, who had been leading Facebook’s advertising and business integrity team. Leathern’s departure from Facebook was reported by Paul Reuters, a journalist with Reuters news agency.
Leathern’s departure has significant implications for Facebook, its advertising practices, and its ongoing efforts to address misinformation and harmful content on its platform. In this article, we’ll examine the impact of Leathern’s departure and what it means for Facebook moving forward.
Rob Leathern’s Role at Facebook
Rob Leathern joined Facebook in 2017 as the company’s product management director for advertising. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of Facebook’s advertising policies and products. Leathern played a crucial role in addressing concerns about political advertising on Facebook and the platform’s role in spreading misinformation during the 2016 US presidential election.
In 2018, Leathern was promoted to lead Facebook’s business integrity team, which was responsible for enforcing the platform’s policies on ads, pages, and groups. In this role, he oversaw a team of product managers and engineers who worked to detect and remove fraudulent or misleading content from Facebook’s advertising ecosystem.
Leathern’s Departure and Its Implications
Leathern’s departure from Facebook is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it marks the loss of a key executive who played a critical role in shaping the platform’s advertising policies and practices. His departure raises questions about Facebook’s ability to maintain the same level of focus and expertise in advertising and business integrity without Leathern’s leadership.
Secondly, Leathern’s departure comes at a time when Facebook is facing increased scrutiny over its handling of misinformation and harmful content on its platform. Facebook has been accused of amplifying conspiracy theories and spreading false information, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leathern’s departure could be seen as a sign that Facebook is struggling to address these issues and may be losing key talent as a result.
Thirdly, Leathern’s departure could also have implications for Facebook’s advertising business. Facebook generates the majority of its revenue from advertising, and Leathern’s team was responsible for ensuring that ads on the platform were legitimate and met Facebook’s standards. Without Leathern’s leadership, there is a risk that Facebook’s advertising ecosystem could become more vulnerable to fraud and misuse.
Rob Leathern’s departure from Facebook is a significant loss for the company. As the head of advertising and business integrity, he played a key role in shaping Facebook’s advertising policies and practices, and his departure raises questions about the company’s ability to maintain its focus and expertise in these areas. With Facebook facing increased scrutiny over its handling of misinformation and harmful content, Leathern’s departure could also be seen as a sign that the company is struggling to address these issues. Moving forward, it will be essential for Facebook to fill the leadership gap left by Leathern and demonstrate its commitment to improving its advertising practices and addressing harmful content on its platform.