Meta Disbands Team Studying Potential Negative Impacts of Facebook, Instagram

Most of the team members are still with the company doing similar work, according to the report.

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David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
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Facebook parent company Meta has reportedly disbanded an internal team dedicated to studying the potential negative impacts of the company's products, including Facebook and Instagram.

Around 20 engineers, ethicists and others made up the Responsible Innovation team, as it was called, which until now had assessed potential concerns about new products and changes to Facebook and Instagram, according to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. A Meta spokesman told the Journal that most of the former team's members would keep doing similar watchdog work elsewhere in the company, though they weren't guaranteed jobs.

The vast majority of the former Responsible Innovation team is doing their former work directly on other teams as a shift in company strategy. 

"This work is more of a priority than ever, not less," Meta spokesman Eric Porterfield told CNET in a statement. "We are scaling it by deploying dedicated teams of experts into priority product areas and have more people working on responsible innovation within product teams than two years ago. That's why the overwhelming majority of former members of this team are continuing with this kind of work elsewhere at Meta."

The company is in a period of change. Meta has been struggling with a mid-year advertising revenue drop, has shuttered Live Shopping and faces a $400 million fine by EU authorities for failing to protect children. The company is continuing its refocus on virtual reality with a new headset coming alongside a VR conference on Oct. 11.