Goal |  Resignation of Sheryl Sandberg, number two of the group

Goal | Resignation of Sheryl Sandberg, number two of the group

(San Francisco) It has turned a popular social network into an advertising machine, a symbol of the big internet platforms and their ultra-controversial economic model: Sheryl Sandberg, number two on Meta (Facebook), announced her resignation on Wednesday.

“After 14 years I will leave Meta,” the director of operations, muse of Silicon Valley, who will nonetheless remain on the Board of Directors, said on Facebook.

He assured that these years “together with Mark” Zuckerberg, the company’s boss and founder, were “the honor and privilege of a lifetime”, while the Californian group is highly criticized by politicians and civil society for its practices. from the collection of personal data to the moderation of content.

“It’s the end of an era,” the billionaire commented on his profile.

He recalled that in 2008 when he hired Sheryl Sandberg, she was only 23 years old and knew “nothing about corporate governance.”

He was 38 years old and had a career in prestigious organizations, from the World Bank to the McKinsey consulting group. She had also worked for the US Treasury as director of personnel and for 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 business,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote. “She created opportunities for millions of people around the world and it is largely thanks to her that Meta became the band it is today.”

“It was not 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 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 $500 billion.

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

“I think Meta has gotten to the 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 changed the name of the parent company to “Meta”, to mark the turning point towards the metaverse, this parallel universe accessible in augmented and virtual reality.

But its economic model is still based on targeted advertising on a very large scale, and therefore on user attention and data.

It has sparked controversy after controversy since 2016. And many authorities accuse it of abusing its dominant position, such as its neighbor Google, the world leader in digital advertising.

“The debate around social networks no longer has anything to do with the beginning,” Sheryl Sandberg pointed out in her extensive message, where she reviews the main stages of her fourteen years on Facebook.

“To say that it hasn’t always been easy is an understatement. But, normally, it is difficult. Our products have a huge impact, so we have a responsibility to design them in ways that protect people’s privacy and security.”

“Mom” is leaving

The announcement of his departure surprised the market.

“It had a huge influence on Facebook, Meta, and the business world in general,” said Debra Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer. “He helped Facebook build a world-class aad-buying platform and develop innovative formats for brands.”

But given the current challenges, slowing user growth and ad revenue, “the business needs a new way forward, and maybe now is the right time to exit Sandberg,” he added.

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

Reading the messages from the two leaders, “one gets the impression that the relationship between them is no longer necessary or no longer works,” reacted Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies.

“It’s like Mark is saying, ‘Mom was looking at me, but now I’m older.’ »

Sheryl Sandberg is also known for her bestsellers, a book about her widowhood and all ahead on the means for a woman to combine personal success and a professional career.

But she had been widely criticized for coming forward when her fortune allowed her to largely escape the hassle of widows with fewer financial resources or the myriad obstacles women face.

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