Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress over the company's use and protection of user data in Washington on April 11, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Leah Millis

A major Facebook management shakeup will see the social networking giant launch a blockchain division, Reuters reports.

David Marcus, head of Facebook’s Messenger service for the past four years, will now explore how blockchain technology can be used across a global network that boasts of more than one billion active users. Kevin Weil, previously head of product at Facebook subsidiary Instagram, joins Marcus in the new blockchain division as does James Everingham, previously VP of engineering at Instagram. Facebook, Marcus said, was “starting from scratch” with blockchain.

Wired blockchain writer, Erin Griffith, says the move is about Facebook not missing out.

“Facebook made this mistake with one big tech wave — mobile,” says Griffith who argues that the move could also be related to improving staff morale at the tech giant, that is looking to move on from mounting high-profile questions it has been asked to answer over the role it played in the storage and manipulation of users’ personal data.

“Crypto is very cool at the moment,” argues Griffith. “I understand Facebook has a very active internal group of crypto-enthusiasts at the company. The subject has even come up on the company’s internal Q&A board. Staying on the cutting edge of hot tech trends goes a long way with employees.”

Facebook is the last of the American “Big Five” tech companies — the others being Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple — to move toward blockchain and Reuters reports that the management shakeup is the biggest in Facebook 14-year history. And it was ordered and overseen by chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

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