Facebook has decided to make its biggest executive shuffle in the company's history.
Facebook's new initiative is looking at ways to leverage blockchain technology and heading the initiative is David Marcus. Mark Zuckerberg appointed his current head of Messenger app, David Marcus, to lead the effort. However, they also come amid black eyes Facebook has received over the a year ago from revelations of fake news posts by Russian operatives during the USA presidential election and the massive collection of Facebook user data by Cambridge Analytica.
At the time, CEO Brian Armstrong praised Marcus' "knowledge of both the payments and mobile space", but Facebook's controversial hardline stance on cryptocurrency suggests a pivot to any features involving payments on the platform is for the meantime unlikely.
Facebook on Tuesday announced the appointment of Jeff Zients, CEO of Cranemere, to the company's board of directors and audit committee, effective May 31.
Facebook itself, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger all fall into the first category - they're the core, consumer-facing smartphone apps that Facebook offers. He is also on the Board of Coinbase, the leading cryptocurrency exchange.
The explosion in value for digital currencies over the past year has brought new attention to blockchain technology, whose nonfinancial uses are being explored by tech giants as a way to potentially make their businesses more efficient.
Three-quarters Facebook users as active or more since privacy scandal: Reuters poll
In the first quarter its sales rose by almost 50% with profits reaching US$ 4.9bn compared to US$ 3bn a year ago . Despite the scandal and the investigations user growth on Facebook does not seem to have been affected.
Marcus wrote: "After almost four unbelievably rewarding years leading Messenger, I have decided it was time for me to take on a new challenge".
We've reached out to Facebook for comment.
A self proclaimed "cryptogeek" with a knack for startups, Marcus's blockchain group could produce Facebook's answer to the cryptocurrency craze and create a new coin for the social network's more than one billion users.
It emerged previous year that Russian operatives used Facebook's platform to spread propaganda during the last presidential election.
As part of the reshuffle, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg remained chief of Facebook, with chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg his second-in-command.