Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s longtime chief operating officer and constant fixture at the social media giant, is stepping down from her role and will leave the company in the fall.
The news is a seismic shift at Facebook and its parent company, Meta. Sandberg in particular has for years been focused on how Facebook should handle content moderation policies while CEO Mark Zuckerberg focused more on product development.
“Today, I am sharing the news that after 14 years, I will be leaving Meta,” Sandberg wrote in a post on her own Facebook page.
The post does not explicitly state in detail why she has decided to step down. But she writes that “it is time for me to write the next chapter of my life.” She says that will include a focus on philanthropy, “which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women.”
She provided some examples of the positives of social media, such as a friend saying that a mutual friend had a baby, and saying that she remembers how before Instagram existed she would have missed that moment. But, “The debate around social media has changed beyond recognition since those early days. To say it hasn’t always been easy is an understatement. But it should be hard. The products we make have a huge impact, so we have the responsibility to build them in a way that protects privacy and keeps people safe. Just as I believe wholeheartedly in our mission, our industry, and the overwhelmingly positive power of connecting people, I and the dedicated people of Meta have felt our responsibilities deeply.”
“Thank you to the colleagues who inspire me every day with their commitment to our mission, to our partners around the world who have enabled us to build a business that serves their businesses, and especially to Mark for giving me this opportunity and being one of the best friends anyone could ever have,” she concluded.
Under her tenure, Facebook has helped incite genocide in Myanmar, and acted as a vehicle for white nationalism and white supremacy across the United States.