Facebook’s CTO steps down, the latest in a series of high-level departures.

The news: Facebook’s long-time CTO Mike Schroepfer will step down from his post next year, per Bloomberg.

  • Schroepfer oversaw the company’s AI work, including efforts to revamp Facebook’s controversial News Feed and to police misinformation on the platform.
  • Schroepfer will stay on in a part-time “senior fellow” role, with Facebook virtual and augmented reality Andrew Bosworth stepping up as CTO.

How we got here: Schroepfer is the third Facebook executive to leave the company this year, signaling that some at the highest level see greener pastures elsewhere.

  • Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, stepped down from her role in June. Her departure was followed by that of Fidji Simo, who led the Facebook app.
  • Both left Facebook to join Instacart, where Everson is president and Simo is CEO.

Troubling times at Facebook: Facebook’s string of high-level departures comes at one of the most embattled periods in the social media company’s history.

  • Facebook’s News Feed has come under fire from regulators for promoting divisive content and misinformation, prompting the company to revamp its recommendation systems—an effort that Schroepfer oversaw.
  • Advertiser relations have also been rocky. The platform has struggled to find new tracking measures after Google announced it will stop supporting browser cookies by 2023 and Apple removed its Identifier for Advertisers. And earlier this month, Facebook said that an undetected glitch resulted in months of incorrect metrics being sent to advertisers.
  • And internal research conducted by Facebook and Instagram highlighted Instagram’s negative impact on teen safety and mental health, according to The Wall Street Journal. The revelation has caused concern among Facebook employees, some of whom asked to see the full report in a Thursday employee Q&A with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Why it’s worth watching: Facebook is fighting off regulators and critics on multiple fronts, and the departures of high-level executives may suggest that those with the most intimate knowledge of Facebook’s operations are not optimistic about the company’s future, or they see greater potential elsewhere.