She has turned a popular social network into an advertising machine, a symbol of the major Internet platforms and their ultra-controversial economic model: Sheryl Sandberg, number two at Meta (new name of the company that owns Facebook), announced his resignation on Wednesday June 1. “After 14 years, I will leave Meta”, declared on Facebook the director of operations, muse of Silicon Valley, who will nevertheless remain on the board of directors.
“It’s the end of an era”
She assured that these years “alongside Mark” Zuckerberg, the boss and founder of the company, were “the honor and privilege of a lifetime”while the Californian group is widely criticized by politicians and civil society for its practices, from the collection of personal data to the moderation of content.
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“It’s 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 years old and did not know “nothing about corporate governance”. She was 38, and a career with prestigious organizations, from the World Bank to the consulting group McKinsey. She had also worked for the US Treasury 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”wrote Mark Zuckerberg. “She created opportunities for millions of people around the world and it’s in large part because of her that Meta became the band it is today. »
Over 3.5 billion users
After establishing itself as the world’s leading social network in the 2000s, Facebook expanded and acquired other services, such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, to remain essential. With some 3.6 billion monthly users (people who use one of its platforms at least once a month), Meta is now worth more than 460 billion euros.
According to a spokesperson for the group, 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 is. “I think Meta has reached the stage where it makes sense for our product and our different businesses to be more integrated with each other,” he indicated.
At the end of 2021, the founder renamed the parent company “Meta”, 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 therefore on the attention and data of users.
It has sparked controversy after controversy since 2016. And many authorities accuse it of abuse of a dominant position, like its neighbor Google, the world leader in digital advertising.
“It’s normal that it’s difficult”
“The debate around social networks no longer has anything to do with the beginnings”noticed Sheryl Sandberg in her long message, where she looks back on the main stages of her fourteen years at Facebook. “To say it hasn’t always been easy is an understatement. But it’s normal for it to be difficult. Our products have a huge impact, so we have a responsibility to design them in a way that protects people’s privacy and security. »
Sheryl Sandberg is also known for her bestsellers: a book about her widowhood and All ahead, dealing with the means for a woman to combine personal success and professional career. However, she had been widely criticized for putting herself forward when her fortune largely allowed her to escape the hassle of less well-off widows or the innumerable obstacles faced by women.