MENLO PARK, CA – On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Justin Shaffer, the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) product manager who is believed to be running the social network’s video advertising initiative, is leaving after three years with the company.
Shaffer first joined Facebook after the company purchased the location-based startup Hot Potato that he founded. Shaffer’s departure was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and was later confirmed by a Facebook representative to CNET, how also confirmed that Shaffer was working on the company’s video team.
In early August, The Wall Street Journal had reported that the social media behemoth was working to integrate video advertisements. However, that report noted that Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg was concerned that video ads would annoy the networks 1.1 billion members and it would appear that the project is already well behind schedule. The departure of Shaffer could indicate that the project has run into other issues and might indeed be stalled.
The company was expected to release 15-second, TV-like commercials without sound in the New Feed section over the summer, but that was later pushed back to October. The company did launch a small pilot project to test videos that automatically play on user’s mobile phones, but there has been no comment on user feedback. According to Tim Spengler, CEO of Magna Global, a media buying company, ‘time will tell if this is viewed as intrusive or highly relevant and welcomed by Facebook users.’
With the company’s next quarterly announcement scheduled for October 22, further delays in the mobile advertising project could deflate some of the enthusiasm over the company’s positioning in that space. Shares of Facebook closed up 6 percent on Tuesday at $ 45.07.
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Vienna released the results of a study that included more than 600 people who left the social media network. According to researchers, many of the people who left the site, left due to data protection issues, the social pressure to add friends, shallow conversations, general dissatisfaction, and loss of interest in the site. While the study is small compared to the total number of Facebook users, it could provide a good indication of why people continue to use the site. Commenting on the results, lead researcher, Psychologist Stefan Stieger said that ‘could be possible that personality traits influence the likelihood of quitting one’s Facebook account indirectly via privacy concerns and Internet addiction.’