Facebook head of policy and communications to step down

Elliot Schrage, Facebook Inc.’s top policy and communications executive, is leaving the role, ending a decade of influence over the social network’s public profile that culminated in a reckoning about its impact on society.

The executive will help find his successor and then stay on as an adviser to Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on individual projects, the company said.

Schrage navigated a tumultuous decade of rapid growth, an initial public offering, and a host of privacy scandals that led to Zuckerberg’s first-ever Congressional testimony earlier this year. Despite the controversy, Facebook’s shares are near a record and its social network is the world’s largest.

“He’s been instrumental in building our policy and communications teams as well as pushing many of our key initiatives — including the recent publication of our community standards, data about our effectiveness enforcing those standards and the creation of an independent election commission,” Sandberg said in a statement. “Mark and I look forward to his ongoing advice over the years ahead.”

Schrage said the job wasn’t just about promoting a positive image for the company. “Our innovations have been greeted with an understandable mix of enthusiasm and concern,” he wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. “As our community and global impact expanded, our challenge to strike a healthy balance has become more urgent and essential.”

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Facebook head of policy and communications to step down