May 3, 2017

Facebook’s Face-Plant

The social media giant’s “gender equality” champion isn’t practicing what she preaches. Big surprise.

Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, has found herself wading through a pool of hypocrisy. Of course, false virtue coming from “Fakebook” isn’t all that unexpected. But Ms. Sandberg is a unique case. She’s a female, and an instrumental one (at least on paper) at that. However, her actions don’t comport at all with her supposed status as a feminist icon whose goal is to establish gender equality. In other words, she’s just like your typical politician.

For example, The Wall Street Journal reports, “Last year, a longtime engineer at Facebook Inc. gathered data that revealed a controversial finding: Code written by women was rejected much more frequently than code written by their male colleagues, according to people familiar with the matter and screenshots of internal discussions viewed by The Wall Street Journal. For many female engineers at Facebook, the finding confirmed long-held suspicions that their coding faced more scrutiny than men’s.”

This creates an interesting and embarrassing quagmire for Sandberg, as noted by James Freeman, who lands another blow with this observation: “[A]t the smaller society called Facebook, where she has held a senior leadership role for nearly a decade and by all accounts has exercised tremendous influence, women occupy few of the key roles.”

The irony is twofold. For one, Sandberg has a lot of say on what goes on inside Facebook’s headquarters, where female subordinates feel they’re being undermined. Secondly, the lack of employee-employer camaraderie flies in the face of Sandberg’s supposed feminist outreach. In 2013, Charlotte Allen addressed Sandberg’s just-premiered book, “Lean In” (a book also chock-full of contractions), in which “she confronts the conundrum of why, since women earn 57% of college degrees and 60% of master’s degrees these days and are embarking on high-paying, formerly male-dominated careers in record numbers, there aren’t more of them in the executive suite…. Ms. Sandberg offers a different suggestion: what she calls the ‘leadership ambition gap.’”

In other words, Sandberg challenged women to take initiative. In reality, her idea of fostering ambition for women is to quash it (whether or not that’s the intention, it’s the perception). Just like Hollywood, hypocrites wants to lecture the world on how things should operate, only they fail time and time again to practice what they preach. When it comes to conviction, Facebook earns a giant dislike.

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