She turned the popular social network into an advertising machine, a symbol of major internet platforms and their ultra-controversial economic model: Sheryl Sandberg, number two at Meta (the new name of the company that owns Facebook), announced her resignation on Wednesday 1 June. “After 14 years I will leave Meta” announced on Facebook the director of operations, the muse of Silicon Valley, who will still remain on the board.
“This is the end of an era”
She assured him that these years “next to Mark” Zuckerberg, the boss and founder of the company, were “honor and privilege of life”while the California group has been widely criticized by politicians and civil society for its practices, from collecting personal data to moderating content.
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“This is the end of an era,” commented the billionaire on his profile. He recalled that in 2008, when he hired Sheryl Sandberg, he was only 23 and didn’t know it “Nothing about corporate governance”. She was 38 years old and had a career in prestigious organizations, from the World Bank to the McKinsey consulting group. She has also worked for the U.S. Treasury Department as Human Resources Director and Google as Vice President of International Sales and Operations.
“Sheryl designed the architecture of our advertising business, recruited great people, shaped our corporate culture and taught me how to run a company.”wrote Mark Zuckerberg. “She created opportunities for millions of people around the world and thanks to her, Meta became the band she is today. »
Over 3.5 billion users
After establishing itself as the world’s leading social network in the 2000s, Facebook has expanded and acquired other services, such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, to stay essential. With about 3.6 billion users per month (people who use one of its platforms at least once a month), Meta is now worth more than 460 billion euros.
According to a group spokesman, the new director of operations should be Javier Olivan, but Mark Zuckerberg has clarified that he does not intend to replace Sheryl Sandberg’s position as it is. “I think Meta has reached a stage where it makes sense for our product and our different businesses to be more integrated with each other,” he said. he pointed out.
At the end of 2021, the founder renamed the parent company “Meta”, in order to mark the turning point towards the metaverse, this virtual universe. But its economic model remains based on targeted advertising on a very large scale, and thus on the attention and data of users.
Since 2016, it has been causing controversy after controversy. And many authorities accuse him of abusing his dominant position, such as his neighbor Google, the world leader in digital advertising.
“It’s normal to be hard”
“The debate over social networks no longer has anything to do with the beginnings”noted Sheryl Sandberg in her long message, in which she looks back at the major stages of her fourteen years on Facebook. “It simply came to our notice then. But it is normal to be difficult. Our products have a huge impact, so we have a responsibility to design them in a way that protects the privacy and security of people. »
Sheryl Sandberg is also known for her bestsellers: a book about her widowhood and All forward, dealing with ways for a woman to combine personal success and professional career. However, she was widely criticized for standing out when wealth greatly enabled her to escape the hassle of less well-to-do widows or the myriad obstacles women face.