There’s been no shortage of turbulence at Facebook given the myriad issues the company faces, from data privacy and misinformation to election integrity and hate speech. To meet those challenges head on, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has turned to Fidji Simo, who became the lead executive overseeing the app since a management restructuring in March that saw the departure of Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox.
In her new role, Simo is presiding over a very different Facebook than the one where she spent the last eight years because of all the new people and processes being put in place.
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“We are fundamentally not the same company we were a year ago,” she said on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business,” which was recorded on stage last week at the Silicon Valleywood conference in Menlo Park, Calif. “What I am seeing in the last year is a lot more rigor in anticipating the bad and getting rid of the over-optimism we used to have when we built products.”
The conversation also touched on how groups and Stories, as well as new services that could be layered on top of Facebook’s public and private conversations, will be part of the app’s evolution. In addition, she explained her approach to programming for Facebook Watch at a time while many other streaming services are pushing hard into original series.
But while Simo is best known for her work on driving video and advertising innovation on the Facebook platform, there are more pressing issues that require her focus. “Nothing else that we want to do, like providing more value for people who use the service, is going to matter until we solve all of these issues,” she said.
“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring departing HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler, Discovery CEO David Zaslav and TV star Tyra Banks. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.