Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer to Step Down Next Year

Andrew 'Boz' Bosworth, head of Facebook Reality Labs, set to assume chief technology officer role

Facebook - Mike Schroepfer

Facebook CTO Mike “Schrep” Schroepfer will resign from the post sometime in 2022, after 13 years leading technology operations for the biggest social media company in the world.

Facebook said Schroepfer will become a “senior fellow” at the company next year, working on initiatives such as recruiting and developing technical talent and “fostering the company’s artificial intelligence investments.” After a transition period, Andrew “Boz” Bosworth — currently head of Facebook Reality Labs overseeing the company’s VR and AR businesses — will become the company’s next CTO.

Schroepfer, in a Facebook post, said stepping down “is a difficult decision because of how much I love Facebook” but said the change “will allow me to dedicate more time to my family and my personal philanthropic efforts while staying deeply connected to the company working on key initiatives.”

The CTO changeover comes as Facebook faces mounting PR and legal problems. The social giant has been blasted for repeatedly failing to do enough to curb misinformation, harassment and other harmful content and conduct across its platforms, as well as allegations by government regulators that it has engaged in monopolistic and anticompetitive behavior. Facebook execs have routinely been made aware of multiple problems and not taken action to fix them, according to an incriminating week-long exposé by the Wall Street Journal based on internal documents.

In a statement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he and Schroepfer “worked closely with Boz on organizational planning for some time.” Bosworth’s CTO appointment “is all foundational to our broader efforts helping to build the metaverse, and I’m excited about the future of this work under Boz’s leadership,” Zuckerberg said.

In July, Zuckerberg on Facebook’s earnings call outlined his vision for the “metaverse” — an open, virtual environment where you can share experiences with other people — that will be the successor to today’s mobile internet. He predicted Facebook will be seen in the future as a “metaverse” company, not a social media company.

Zuckerberg credited Schroepfer with having “played a critical role in almost everything we’ve done — from building and scaling our teams to mentoring many of our key leaders, and from helping us develop new technologies like AI and VR to operating our infrastructure and business services at global scale.”

Bosworth created Facebook’s AR/VR organization, which was renamed Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) in 2020, leading all of the company’s efforts in augmented reality, virtual reality and consumer hardware across Oculus, Portal and Facebook Reality Labs Research. Before joining Facebook in 2006, he worked at Microsoft as a software design engineer.

Bosworth was at the center of a controversy three years ago, after the publication of an internal memo he wrote in 2016 arguing that Facebook’s single focus was growth — regardless of any terrible consequences of the platform. “We connect people. Period. That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified,” he wrote in the memo. “Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools.”

After the memo became public, Bosworth tried to explain that his comments were meant to provoke discussion and didn’t reflect his actual beliefs: “I don’t agree with the post today, and I didn’t agree with it even when I wrote it,” he tweeted at the time.