Sheryl Sandberg might want to lean in on this one; a former Facebook employee has claimed that the social-media giant’s trending team is plagued with sexism.
The contractor, who spoke to The Guardian anonymously, said that working at Facebook was one the most toxic work experience of her life.
“Employees I worked with were angry, depressed and left voiceless – especially women,” she reveals. “Contrary to what Sheryl Sandberg preaches in her Lean In movement, women on the team are rarely encouraged to speak up.”
"Women on the team are rarely encouraged to speak up"
“I often found that when I reported a problem… my claims were dismissed. When a man would report the same problem, he would be congratulated for noticing the problem and actions would be taken to fix it. This silencing was devastating,” she told The Guardian.
Apparently, according to the anonymous source, the team that helps curate Facebook’s Trending feed has no HR department to speak to.
“Several women, including myself, reported sexism by managers and editors to their direct supervisor and in their exit interviews to no avail.” Of which, there were said to be many, as she states 15 from a team of 40–50 have quit since 2014 – and 10 of the 15 were female.
When Facebook HQ was contacted for comment, they denied the company allows such behaviour. “Facebook provides everyone – including contractors – with a respectful and safe working environment. Facebook does not tolerate unlawful harassment or any mistreatment in the workplace or in a work-related situation. We take any allegations of such very seriously, whether from employees or contractors, and investigate every complaint,” read the statement.
"Facebook was accused of suppressing news stories of interest to conservative readers”
The claims come after Facebook was outed for supposedly tampering with the site’s trending list to “suppress news stories of interest to conservative readers”, reports tech site Gizmodo. According to another unnamed former Facebook employee, the company hires “news curators” to inject particular topics into the trending list, and suggested the company were pushing its own agenda.
“Things would be black-listed or trending… I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC [The Conservative Political Action Conference] or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognise the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz,” says the source.
Facebook’s vice president Tom Stocky denies the allegations, saying there was “no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true”.