It is not clear how history will judge Sheryl Sandberg.
Sandberg, who said Wednesday that she is leaving Meta after 14 years as the company’s second-in-command, leaves behind a complex business and personal legacy.
She helped make the company, formerly known as Facebook, one of the most influential and wealthy companies in the world. Her writing and advocacy and grief about women in the workplace influenced Sandberg on topics that were touched upon by a few other American officials.
But Sandberg was also partly responsible for Facebook’s failure during the crucial moments, especially when the company initially denied responsibility for Russia-backed trolls and misused the site to provoke divisions among Americans ahead of the 2016 US presidential election. And when her 2013 book “Lean In” begins an important conversation, some of her thoughts now seem old.
As my colleagues wrote, “His tenure at the Sandberg Meta is far from the prestigious peak of the last decade.”
Some US superstar tech companies, including Apple, Amazon, Google and Oracle, have gone through relatively recent transitions in which reputable founders have handed over power to hired hands. Sandberg, of course, is not the founder of Facebook. But without the partnership between Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg – both good and bad – today is not like Facebook.
It’s also hard to imagine a significant change in Facebook since her departure. It suggests that Sandberg’s biggest influence may have been in the past, and that he is no longer as important on Facebook as his supporters or opponents believe.
The Architect of Converting Digital Advertising:
Zuckerberg, 23, hired Sandberg in 2008 to explore how to turn Facebook into a large and sustainable business. On that score, she succeeded beyond anyone’s dreams. But that legacy is also complex.
Sandberg spearheaded a plan to create a more sophisticated system of advertising that was largely based on what she helped develop on Google. Ads on Facebook were linked to the activities and interests of people on the site. Like Google, many advertisers bought Facebook ads online instead of sales staff, as was typical for TV or newspaper ads. Later, Sandberg developed new systems for Facebook advertisers to direct their potential customers with more precision.
Google and Facebook have transformed product marketing from an art to a sometimes quirky science, and Sandberg is one of the architects of that transformation. She shares in the credit (or fault) for developing the two most successful, and perhaps least manageable, business models in Internet history.
We’re all worried today about apps snooping on people to gather every piece of activity to better pitch dishwashers – this is partly what Sandberg is doing. The combined advertising revenue of Facebook and Google and all the other online companies that make money from advertising is a combined 5 325 billion.
Denied, distracted, defensive pattern.
Sandberg initially said publicly that Facebook played a lesser role in the planning of the Capitol riots in January. 6, 2021. That was not entirely true. As my colleagues Shera Frankel and Cecilia Kang reported, people used Facebook to spread false information about election fraud, which angered protesters. Some rioters used Facebook to openly discuss the logistics of the attack ahead of time.
In her 2021 book, An Ugly Truth, Shera and Cecilia wrote that her response to Sandberg’s opponents was part of a pattern of trying to maintain the company’s reputation or her own rather than do the right thing.
Among those responsible for Facebook’s delayed or inadequate initial response in 2018 was Sandberg, a political consulting firm that Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain the personal information of millions of Facebook users.
Tech journalists and others who regularly visit Facebook have asked in recent years why Sandberg chose to stay in the company. My colleague Mike Isaac said in today’s Dealbook newsletter that Sandberg lost influence as Zuckerberg gained more command over the company. Other executives took over duties that once belonged to Sandberg, including overseeing government policy.
Sandberg may have at one time thought that she could do better in the world than she could at Facebook outside of the company, but it was hard to say whether that was true now.
If you haven’t already received this newsletter in your inbox, Please sign up here,
Tip of the week
How to report spam text
Brian X ChenConsumer technology columnist for The New York Times advises to be part of the curse solution of bogus text messages.
In a recent column, I reported on the growing nuisance of text-message spam, which has recently overtaken the rise of RoboCalls.
Texts can pitch you for unsolicited package instructions or for questionable health products such as weight loss pills. Links within that text usually point you to a website asking for your personal information, including your credit card number, which scammers may use for fraud.
There is no indication that SMS spam is slowing down. So one of the best things you can do is be part of the solution: Forward spam text to your phone carrier.
It will help carriers to know which phone number and language is being used in spam texts. It contains useful information to help carriers improve their technology to prevent messages from reaching your phone.
Here’s how to forward spam text to carriers:
on iPhones, Tap and hold on the message and tap on “More”. Then press the Forward button, which is the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the screen. In the Recipient field, enter 7726 and press Send.
On Android phones, Tap and hold on the message. When the menu pops up, select “Forward Message”. Enter 7726 in the Recipient field and press Send.
Before we go
Trial by TikTok: The jury handed down the verdict in a defamation hearing between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard on Wednesday. My colleague Amanda Hess recently discovered why the trial has become a bait for constant fan commentary on TikTok and other apps, most of which feature Depp as a hero and Heard as a villain.
If more of them bring phones into the classroom, will it make children safer in schools? Experts told the Washington Post they did not recommend it because they said children should focus on teachers and other teachers during emergencies such as school shootings and the phone could make unwanted noises during a quiet lockdown. (Subscription may be required.)
The sound of anything is obviously a big business: Bloomberg News reports that people who just make a Spotify audio mix of static, ocean waves or other white noise earn up to $ 18,000 a month. (Subscription may be required.)
How do hotter rhinos get cooler? By Going to be very upset.
We want to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this newsletter and what else you would like us to explore. You can contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you haven’t already received this newsletter in your inbox, Please sign up hereYou can also read Past on take column,