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Facebook Management Exodus Continues as Communications Exec Departs

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AFP

Rachel Whetstone, a leading communications executive at Facebook, is departing the social networking company for Netflix amid an exodus of high-ranking managers from the embattled silicon valley giant.

Whetstone, who was hired in July 2017 to head up public relations for Facebook-owned entities — Facebook Messenger,  Instagram, and WhatsApp — has accepted the position of Chief Communications Officer at online streaming giant Netflix.

“Rachel is a proven communications leader and a strong addition to the Netflix team,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a statement. “Her deep knowledge and international expertise will be invaluable as we bring Netflix and its expanding lineup of original content to an increasingly global audience.”

“I’m so excited to be joining Netflix and being part of this amazing company’s story,” Whetstone said in a separate statement. 

Whetstone is the third executive to depart Facebook this summer. Elliot Schrage, Head of Communications and Policy revealed in June he would be exiting the silicon valley giant after a decade, while business development executive Dan Rose announced last week that he would be leaving the Menlo Park-based company.

The Bristol University graduate is said to have been originally lured to Facebook to avoid “thorny challenges,” she faced at her previous employers Uber and Google. However, as Recode’s Kara Swisher writes, Whetstone was quickly enlisted to help quell a host of public relations controversies, including “the proliferation of fake content and also assessing Facebook’s responsibility for some real-world tragedies related to the use of its tools. Whetstone was also quickly pulled into handling the myriad of criticisms about the performance of top execs like CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.”

The outgoing Facebook executive will replace Netflix’s previous Chief Communications Officer Jonathan Friedland, who according to reports, was ousted in June for using the N-word in two instances. “I’m leaving Netflix after seven years,” Friedland told The Hollywood Reporter of his firing. “Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy. I feel awful about the distress this lapse caused to people at a company I love and where I want everyone to feel included and appreciated.”

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