How can a tech company be neutral when almost all of its staff is anti-conservative?
When Facebook Vice President for global public policy Joel Kaplan was spotted sitting behind Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Facebook staff lost their collective minds. The “intolerant political monoculture” that conservative employees previously complained about came out in full force. According to the New York Times, employees argued that Kaplan “violated our policies.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that Kaplan, as a close friend of Kavanaugh, was only there at the hearing for personal support, and had not broken company rules. However, managers, staff, and other executives were upset at the move.
“Let’s assume for a minute that our VP of Policy understands how senate hearings work. His seat choice was intentional, knowing full well that journalists would identify every public figure appearing behind Kavanaugh. He knew that this would cause outrage internally, but he knew that he couldn’t get fired for it. This was a protest against our culture, and a slap in the face to his fellow employees,” wrote one program manager.
Other employees maintained that Zuckerberg’s dismissal of Kaplan’s support of Kavanaugh meant that he was also dismissing accusations of sexual assault made by Dr. Blasey Ford. Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg came out in condemnation of Kaplan, writing, “As a woman and someone who cares so deeply about how women are treated, the Kavanaugh issue is deeply upsetting to me. I’ve talked to Joel about why I think it was a mistake for him to attend given his role in the company.”
One engineer wrote to Zuckerberg, “Please don’t insult our intelligence by declaring that this act did not violate our policies, or that it was only an honest lapse in judgment.”
The outcry from the Facebook staff brings to mind what Facebook engineer Brian Amerige wrote in a memo in August: “We claim to welcome all perspective, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”