The Chief Operation Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg addressed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates last Friday and urged them to uphold and promote equality, democracy, kindness and truth through all they do. She commenced her speech saying, “We can retreat in fear, we can go ahead with single-minded believe or we can do all the good we can knowing what we build will be used by people.” Sandberg adviced them to be ‘clear-eyed optimists’ in today’s world.
Sheryl said, with the advent of technology that supports democracy, equality, truth and kindness, the new graduates should be “looking around corners and throwing up every possible roadblocks against hate, violence and deception.” With this she also added, “You might be thinking, given some of the issues Facebook has had, isn’t what I’m saying hitting pretty close to home? Yes. It is.”
Earlier this year, Facebook got into a lot of controversies because of Cambridge Analytica, which had illegally accessed data of around 87 million Facebook users and allegedly helped Donald Trump with his election campaign. More recently, another bug in Facebook changed the default sharing settings of nearly 14 million users to ‘public’.
However, Sheryl shared how she is proud of the connections that Facebook has created, how people have found and created jobs, or used it for democracy or to uphold the right of people. In this context, she also mentioned about the #metoo movement and the way that has been affecting attitude towards women in the workplace.