The resignation of Sheryl Sandberg, quantity two on Fb, is essential for …

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 in Meta (Facebook), announced her resignation on Wednesday.

“I’m leaving Meta after 14 years,” Silicon Valley chief operating officer said on Facebook, who will remain on the board.

She assured that this year “along with Mark” Zuckerberg, the company’s boss and founder, was “an honor and privilege of a lifetime”, while the California group has been widely criticized by politicians and the public. civil society because of its practice, from collecting personal data to moderating content.

“This is the end of an era,” the billionaire commented on his profile.

He recalled that in 2008, when he hired Sheryl Sandberg, he was only 23 years old and knew “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 Director of Personnel 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,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote. “She created opportunities for millions of people around the world and thanks in large part to her Meta became the band she is today.”

– “It wasn’t easy” –

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 $ 500 billion.

A spokesman told AFP that Javier Olivan would be the new chief operating officer, but Mark Zuckerberg said he did not intend to replace Sheryl Sandberg’s position as he is.

“I think Meta has reached a point where it makes sense for our product and our different businesses to be more integrated with each other,” he said.

At the end of 2021, the founder renamed the parent company “Meta”, in order to mark the turning point towards the metaverse, this parallel universe available in augmented and virtual reality.

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.

“The debate over social media no longer has anything to do with the beginnings,” Sheryl Sandberg noted in her long message, in which she looks back at the major stages of her fourteen years on Facebook.

“To say it hasn’t always been easy is to say a little. But it’s okay to be tough. Our products have a huge impact, so we have a responsibility to design them in a way that protects privacy and personal safety.”

– “Mom” leaves –

The announcement of his departure surprised the market.

“She has had a huge impact on Facebook, Meta and the business world in general,” said Debra Williamson, an eMarket analyst. “She has helped Facebook build a platform to buy world-class ads and develop innovative formats for brands.”

But given the current challenges – slowing user growth and advertising revenue – “the company needs a new way forward, and maybe now is the right time to leave Sandberg,” she added.

“This makes strategic sense as the company moves to new sources of growth like the metaverse,” said Angelo Zino of CFRA Research.

Reading the messages of the two leaders, “we have the impression that the relationship between them is no longer needed or no longer works,” reacted Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies.

“It’s like Mark saying ‘Mom was watching me, but I’m growing up now.’

Sheryl Sandberg is also known for her bestsellers, a book about her widowhood and “En avant tous”, about the way a woman can combine personal success and a professional career.

But she was widely criticized for declaring herself when wealth greatly enabled her to escape the hassle of widows who are financially less well-off or the myriad obstacles women face.

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