Meta Platforms Inc.’s FB -0.20% head of communications said he is leaving the company in a Friday afternoon post to employees, creating a void at the top of the department managing the controversies surrounding the tech giant.
John Pinette had overseen the company’s external communications since 2019. Prior to joining what was then Facebook, Mr. Pinette handled business and philanthropic dealings for deceased Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. He also ran communications for Alphabet Inc.’s Google in Asia and advised Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates in past jobs.
“Today will be my last day at Meta,” Mr. Pinette wrote in the post. “I know the team will continue to thrive as you do some of the most important—and most difficult—work in Communications.”
Mr. Pinette declined to comment further when reached late on Friday. A Meta spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Pinette was known as someone who tried to build cordial relations with reporters.
Beginning in September, The Wall Street Journal published a series of articles, called The Facebook Files, that revealed harm caused by the social-media company’s platforms, as identified by its own researchers, and its challenges in addressing them. The articles were based in part on thousands of documents produced by an internal whistleblower. They detailed matters including how Facebook’s algorithm fosters discord and how its researchers concluded that its platforms, notably Instagram, could hurt teen mental health.
The disclosures were the subject of multiple congressional hearings and pushed the company to put a tighter lid on internal research.
Meta’s communications department includes hundreds of employees and is responsible for everything from promoting the company’s products to responding to press inquiries about activity on its platforms, which are used by more than three billion people world-wide.
Write to Meghan Bobrowsky at Meghan.Bobrowsky@wsj.com
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Appeared in the January 8, 2022, print edition as ‘Meta’s Head of Communications Leaves.’