Facebook CEO reportedly on war footing as criticism toward the company mounts
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has adopted a more aggressive management style in recent months, driving away a number of top executives amid sinking employee morale, according to a new report.
Zuckerberg also reportedly blamed Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg for the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, making her wonder if her job was secure.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that facing increasing criticism from users, investors and lawmakers, Zuckerberg in June told top Facebook executives he was going to a war footing and would implement a tougher management style.
A New York Times report last week detailed missteps and inaction in the wake of a series of scandals over the past three years, and questionable tactics in going after critics of the social-media giant, spurring a new round of damage control.
On Thursday, Facebook’s board of directors called the Times story “unfair,” and during a question-and-answer session with employees Friday, Zuckerberg called the critical news reports “bullshit,” the Journal reported. The New York Times reported that at the same meeting, Zuckerberg warned that employees who speak to the media will be fired, and blamed leaks on bad morale.
About a dozen high-profile executives have left Facebook this year, the Journal noted, and in May Zuckerberg reshuffled top product executives.
Among other things, the Journal report said Instagram’s co-founders left the company over disagreeing with Zuckerberg’s efforts to share location data for ad purposes; the co-founders of WhatsApp left over clashes with Zuckerberg about how to better monetize the service; and Oculus VR’s co-founder left over a disagreement over the future of the virtual-reality headset.
In the spring, Zuckerberg took Sandberg to task for the public fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Journal reported, and also said she should have been more aggressive in cracking down on objectionable content. Sandberg told friends she was rattled by the exchange, the Journal reported.
Facebook shares FB, -0.56% are down more than 20% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s SPX, +0.22% 2% gain.