Fernando Cutz, a 2012 graduate of the Clinton School of Public Service, is working for Facebook as the multinational technology company’s Global Lead for Legal Takedown Request Operations.
Cutz’s career prior to Facebook included nearly a decade in various roles within the U.S. Government and private consulting. With Facebook, he manages a team of lawyers around the world who work to remove illegal content from Facebook’s platform, which also includes Instagram and WhatsApp. The tech giant’s network touches close to 3 billion people per day, or roughly 45 percent of the world’s population.
“There’s no shortage of attention on Facebook these days,” Cutz said. “But I see that as a positive sign because it shows me that our work matters. The fact that people care so much to be so interested in our day-to-day decisions, wanting to get into the weeds on this stuff, is great and I think it creates a good kind of accountability.”
Cutz said that the transition to Facebook was, professionally, a big step. And a surprising one. When a Facebook representative initially contacted about applying for the job, he assumed it was a mistake.
“They sent me the link, said that they thought I’d be a good fit, and asked if I’d be interested in the role,” Cutz recalled. “True story: I said, ‘I appreciate it, but I think you have sent this to the wrong person.’ I thought it was clearly some sort of mistake.”
But it wasn’t a mistake. And the more Cutz talked with Facebook about the job, the more it made sense. The regional managers he oversees are lawyers, well-versed in their countries’ laws and procedures. Questions that rise to Cutz’s level require an expertise in public policy, including factors like global precedent and human rights, for which his background in international government makes him uniquely suited to handle.
Born in Brazil and raised in Miami, the majority of Cutz’s previous positions in government and private consulting were focused on Latin America. However, his current position with Facebook is truly global in scope. His previous positions helped to prepare him for a job that requires public policy and diplomatic expertise.
Cutz spent six years working in the U.S Government, including tours of the White House under both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. His time included work on President Obama’s National Security Council Staff in the Office of Global Engagement at the White House. He was as a Special Advisor for President Obama’s trip to Cuba. He served in Bogotá, Colombia, as an advisor for USAID’s work with the Colombian peace process with the FARC, and in Georgetown, Guyana, as USAID’s Principal Officer.
Cutz eventually became a Senior Advisor to National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and Deputy National Security Advisor Maj. Gen. Rick Waddell. He served as Director for South America and acting Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs under President Trump at the White House National Security Council.
In 2018, Cutz left government to join The Cohen Group, a global consulting firm, providing advice on tactical and strategic opportunities in various markets with a specific focus on Latin America.
“I think all of these different roles have helped me,” Cutz said. “At the White House, in my last year, I was Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor, who was General McMaster at the time. That was really the first time that I stepped out of Latin America and went into global portfolio. Everything from China, Russia, and North Korea and of course Latin America, Cuba, Venezuela, and everything else. It really broadened my perspectives in a big way and helped me understand some of the sensitivities in other parts of the world, diplomatically speaking. That was a great role that helped me in preparation for this.”
Through his experiences in government and consulting, Cutz developed an expertise on policy making and diplomacy. Developing skills that are critical to his new position with Facebook, he advanced his understanding of how to interact with governments in a way that’s productive, even in times of disagreement.
“Framing something in a different way can make a huge difference in how something is received and acted upon by a foreign government,” Cutz said. “Doing it in a diplomatic way makes a huge, huge difference.”
Now, nearly a year into his role at Facebook, he is enjoying the position and feels fortunate to be working for a company that will play a role in the way people live, work, and communicate for years to come.
“It’s been really exciting to understand this world in tech,” Cutz said. “Some of the technology we’re working on is super exciting; it’s really the future of how we are all going to interact with one another. As society continues to evolve, I do think this will be a critical component of the rule-making process we have to agree on. Being at a place where I can help shape some of the conversations that are going on, both present but more importantly about the future, about communication between humanity, is super exciting.”