Facebook's director of product announces departure

Blake Ross, the famed co-creator of the Mozilla Firefox browser, is saying goodbye to the social network after six years.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
2 min read
Blake Ross, pictured second from the left, with Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Cox in August 2010. Blake Ross/Facebook

Facebook's director of product, Blake Ross, said today that he's leaving the social network to "try new things."

The product guru, a prominent figure at the company's major press events over the years, allegedly announced his departure in a private note posted to Facebook, which was obtained by TechCrunch.

CNET has confirmed with a source close to the company that Ross is indeed departing Facebook.

Ross arrived at the company after it acquired his startup Parakey in 2007. Parakey was Facebook's first acquisition. Prior to Parakey, Ross made a name for himself as the co-founder of the Mozilla Firefox project and played a pivotal role in developing the Firefox browser.

Ross wrote in his note:

Hey everyone, I've decided to leave Facebook. I'm so grateful that I've had the opportunity to learn from and grow with you.

I'm leaving because a Forbes writer asked his son's best friend Todd if Facebook was still cool and the friend said no, and plus none of HIS friends think so either, even Leila who used to love it, and this journalism made me reconsider the long-term viability of the company.

Also because, after scaling a website in a dorm room to a platform connecting a billion people in 196 countries through revolutionary high-efficiency auto-cooling datacenters, you guys will probably never figure out how to sell a Quiznos turkey club on a phone.

In all seriousness, even after switching to part-time at Facebook, it's just time for me to try new things. I was 14 when I came to the Bay Area to work at Netscape (socially stunted badge pic below). That's half my life building software in a 10-mile area of Northern California -- a rather long stretch considering I spent the first half of my life learning disciplines as varied as standing up, eating, and getting Bar Mitzvahed.

My parting advice: Cherish the launch days. To be surrounded by such bright people, brimming with optimism, forgetting to eat, is a blessing. It's the kind of manic hopefulness that adulthood is supposed to drain out of you, and I will miss it most.

Launch day is also a great day for Legal to find out what you're launching.

Guys, thanks for everything. You've all brought a lot of joy to this stone cold heart.

Update 1:36 p.m. PT: A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that Ross is leaving the company.