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Facebook loses project manager reportedly working on video ads

Justin Shaffer, who arrived at the social network after his startup was acquired in 2010, is leaving as the company purportedly struggles to figure out how to run video ads without alienating users.

Facebook product manager Justin Shaffer, rumored to be co-leading the social network's video advertising initiative, is leaving the company after three years on the job.

Shaffer landed at Facebook in 2010 when the social network purchased Hot Potato, a location-based startup where Shaffer served as co-founder and CEO. His departure was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Facebook confirmed Shaffer's exit to CNET and said he was working on the company's video team.

If the product manager was helping steer Facebook's rumored video advertising effort, as the Wall Street Journal reported last month, the timing of the exit would suggest that the social network is indeed struggling with the project.

Facebook has stayed mum on its video ad intentions, but the company has long been expected to launch 15-second, TV-like commercials that would play automatically without sound in the News Feed. The high-priced ads were said to be slated for a summer debut, then pushed back to an October unveiling, and more recently delayed without a concrete launch date. Last week, Facebook started a small mobile experiment to test videos that automatically play in the News Feed, leaving many to speculate that the pilot was meant to gauge people's reactions to a potentially controversial format ahead of the ads release.

Shaffer declined to comment for this story. Ashley Zandy, who leads Facebook's corporate media relations team, is leaving the social network as well.