The societal, psychological, and sometimes violent consequences of social media are now reverberating from the inside: A recent survey of Facebook employees reportedly found that their opinion of the company has begun to tank.
Facebook's roughly 29,000 employees take an internal survey twice a year so the company can measure the overall morale, according to the Wall Street Journal, which obtained information from these surveys. Last year, 84 per cent of employees reported “they were optimistic about the company’s future,” according to the Journal. In April, that number reportedly dropped to around 67 per cent, and it is currently down to 52 per cent. That’s a 32 per cent drop over the course of about a year.
That wasn’t the only stat to take a plunge: 53 per cent of Facebook employees reported in the survey that they believed the company “was making the world better,” which is reportedly 19 per cent less than last year. Also, 70 per cent said they were proud to work at the company, down 17 per cent from the previous year, according to the Journal.
“It has been a difficult period, but every day we see people pulling together to learn the lessons of the past year and build a stronger company,” a Facebook spokeswoman told the Journal. “Everyone at Facebook has a stake in our future and we are heads down shipping great products and protecting the people who use them.”
It’s hardly surprising that, after a litany of damning scandals and bad press, employees might find it difficult to idealise the social network. The staggering plunge in Facebook employee morale mirrors an internal struggle perpetuating the industry—a realisation that a company’s stated mission might not match its societal impact.
We saw the repercussions of this with Google when a social justice group of college students pledged not to work at the tech giant in response to its controversial contract with the US Department of Defense. Some Google employees even resigned. At Amazon, employees protested the company’s facial recognition contracts with law enforcement. And recently at Facebook, there were reports of employee outrage after the company’s vice president for global public policy Joel Kaplan showed up to support now-US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate hearings. It’s evident there’s mounting internal pressure at tech companies for leadership to get their shit together—whether it’s eradicating systemic harassment and discrimination within their walls or choosing not to create and deploy unethical systems that negatively impact the world’s most vulnerable. [The Wall Street Journal]