In an article for The Guardian, an anonymous former Facebook employee called her time on the platform’s trending news team “the most toxic experience of [her] life.”
Although the anonymous former staffer denied recent claims that there was evidence of political bias on the trending news team, she claimed in a column for The Guardian that “poor management, coupled with intimidation, favoritism and sexism…resulted in a deeply uncomfortable work environment.”
Contrary to what Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg preaches to her “Lean In” movement, which encourages women to seek leadership roles, the anonymous former employee claims that the trending team women on the team were rarely encouraged to speak up. She claims that her allegations of sexism were never taken seriously by her superiors on the trending news team.
The ex-Facebook employee claims that of the 15 trending team members that have quit since 2014, 10 were women.
She also pointed to her experience with managers who blatantly displayed sexism by preferential treatment towards male employees:
“I often found that when I reported a problem with the Trending tool or a discrepancy in the guidelines, 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. I found myself speaking up less and less, until I got to a point where I no longer reported any problems or errors I encountered.”
In the column, the ex-employee detailed the harsh and impersonal management style that trending team members were subjected to by managers:
“The team prioritizes scale over editorial quality and forces contractors to work under stressful conditions of meeting aggressive numbers coupled with poor scheduling and miscommunication. If a curator is underperforming, they’ll receive an email from a supervisor comparing their numbers to another curator.
In response to the column, Facebook released a statement reaffirming their commitment to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of their workers:
“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.”