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Facebook Shuffles Execs, creates mysterious blockchain division

Facebook is launching its own blockchain division as part of a broader reorganization of its executive lineup

The experimental blockchain group will be led by David Marcus, the executive most recently in charge of Facebook’s Messenger group. Marcus sits on the board of directors of Coinbase, an exchange for cryptocurrency (which uses the blockchain as its underlying technology), and joined Facebook from PayPal in 2014.

Instagram’s current vice president of product, Kevin Weil, will be leaving that role to join Facebook’s blockchain team under Marcus. The two positions are the only ones announced so far for the team, and come amid a lot of other employee reshuffling.

Facebook will now operate under three divisions: a “family of apps” group (including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger), a new platforms division (including a blockchain technology team, augmented and virtual reality, enterprise technology and artificial intelligence) and a “central product services” team, which covers shared resources like ads, data analytics and security.

The report comes as Facebook has faced fallout over data privacy and “fake news,” amid revelations of data sales to outside firms like Cambridge Analytica, and evidence of Russian election interference. Meanhwhile, Facebook has tried to keep its ad revenue growing through newer, younger platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced last month he was leaving the company. As part of this week’s reorganization, most Facebook apps are getting new leaders, save Instagram, which will continue to be run by Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

Facebook separately announced on Tuesday that it added Jeff Zients, the CEO of Cranemere, to the board. Zients will join the audit committee, Facebook said, as will another recently added board member, Kenneth Chenault. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen will also be on the committee but will no longer be on the compensation and governance committee.

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