Facebook employees are taking a stand over CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s inaction towards President Donald Trump’s inflammatory posts promoting violence against protestors. This week, at least two employees have already from the company.
While those working for the social media giant are making their voices heard, some developers are taking action in another way: by publicly turning Facebook recruiters down.
Software developer Ryon Day recently shared an email he sent to a Facebook recruiter who had been actively pursuing him for employment opportunities over the past few months.
“I deeply appreciate your and Facebook’s interest in me as a possible candidate,” Day wrote in his posted reply. “Nevertheless, I must demur.”
“I have long felt that the harm your product does to society far outweighs any benefit that it brings to the world,” he explained. “Still, events of the past four years and especially the past few days has shown that beyond a reasonable doubt, Facebook is an active threat to the noble aspects of the American experiment and an active and seemingly enthusiastic participant in the dismantling of our civil society.”
Day’s email then succinctly laid out his issues with Facebook, noting its role in spreading misinformation and harboring extremists, and, of course, Zuckerberg’s recent defense of keeping Trump’s posts on the platform.
“Mark Zuckerberg is a sociopath who is pulling the levers of an entity that is also inherently sociopathic.”
In an email with Day, he explained that he’d received the recruitment message from Facebook on the same day Zuckerberg appeared on Fox News to defend his decision “to keep Trump’s propaganda in their pristine form,” as he put it. During that same news segment, the Facebook CEO also criticized Twitter’s decision to label Trump’s comments on mail-in ballots as disinformation.
“But what really ultimately did it was the smarm,” Day said. “The superciliousness of the tone of the message; the horrible irony of opening with ‘Hope you are doing well and staying safe,’ when writing on behalf of an employer who has done so much to ensure the opposite, to ensure that we are not doing well, that we are decidedly not staying safe, that we cannot stay safe.”
“We cannot stay safe physically; we cannot stay safe emotionally; we cannot stay safe mentally, due in no small part to the havoc that Facebook has wreaked on our entire culture over its lifespan,” he continued.
Day thinks that, in many ways, Facebook is just like a typical tech company. He believes the company designs its platform’s rules and policies in order to give itself more power, often at the detriment of its users. Or, as he put it: “They refuse to acknowledge that the forward movement of technology far outstrips our ability as a culture to adapt.”
But Day thinks Facebook stands out in the pack, thanks, of course, to its founder and CEO.
“I cannot understand working at Facebook feeling any pride. I cannot understand how you can work there and contort your mind into believing you are doing any good for the world.”
“Mark Zuckerberg is a sociopath,” he said. “He is a sociopath who is pulling the levers of an entity that is also inherently sociopathic: a corporation.”
Big tech companies like Facebook are known for paying software talent quite well. There are surely those who think having “Facebook” on their resume would be a boon for future job opportunities, as well. Day sees it differently, though.
“I cannot understand working at Facebook feeling any pride. I cannot understand how you can work there and contort your mind into believing that you are doing any good whatsoever for the world, or anyone but yourself,” he said. “I believe that by working there, you diminish yourself and you diminish the users of the product you are helping to create. It’s not worth it.”
“Maybe consider working for an employer you may not want to one day, hide from your resume out of shame,” he continued.
Day believes that there are places to work in the tech industry where you can make similar money and solve real problems without sacrificing your morals to work with a company “directly coordinating” with the Trump administration. Day is currently an employee at online style company, Stitch Fix. And, before that, he worked on fitness apps for Under Armour.
So does Day think that if enough tech talent turn Facebook down the company could be forced to change its policies or the way it works? No. But he also doesn’t think that’s the end goal.
“I think the way to change is to change our cultural perception of Facebook and make it a shameful place to work.”