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On Thursday December 13 it was revealed that Facebook is expanding their currently small blockchain group by recruiting industry experts. It’s estimated the recruitment has been going on for a few months, wherein Facebook have been approaching cryptocurrency professionals across different areas. This includes academics, engineers, legal experts, and product managers.
It is fair to say that 2018 has been a turbulent year for the social media giant. The year has seen the company caught up in some major scandals, as well as some changes to Facebook’s interface that adversely affected stock prices. In January Facebook experienced a share price fall when it announced significant changes to their news feed function.
Their shares took another drive in March when it was revealed that a British consulting company, Cambridge Analytica, had used Facebook to collect data from over 50 million Facebook users without their consent. April saw another fall when Facebook announced their rules on what content was allowed on the platform. Between April and September Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress for the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Instagram’s founders announced their resignation, and some other major employees left the company, leading to further disruption. September saw a massive security breach that impacted another 50 million users.
With such a turbulent year, it makes sense that Facebook is trying to reach into new areas and improve its profile. The blockchain group was formed eight months ago, and since then Facebook staff have been attending cryptocurrency conferences globally to recruit new staff.
According to the blockchain group, their goal is to “to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now [this] could be things like equitable financial services, new ways to save, or new ways to share information.”
Facebook has been looking to crypto and blockchain startups for new talent; however, it has been suggested that they have had limited success. Many of the people working or looking to work in crypto startups are keen on the benefits of being with a small company, namely, freedom to innovate as they see fit. Facebook is a massive company with a questionable public perception which is driving some people away. They have recruited some notable experts though, like PayPal former president David Marcus, and BitGo cofounder Ben Davenport.
It is unclear what Facebook’s plans are in the blockchain space, and how many people they are looking to recruit to realize these goals.