It’s not news that Facebook has the profiles of a cult, but the recent row of testimonies by 12 former Facebook employees shines light on exactly how cult-like FB is, and how it actually sounds like being in a ultra-nationalistic country where criticism of the nation and its supreme leader gets you in real trouble. Sounds familiar?
An article from Gizmodo back in 2016 called out Facebook’s cultish workplace pressure, well, quite straightforwardly:
“Working at Facebook Sounds Like Joining a Cult”
Antonio Garcia Martinez, a Silicon valley CEO-founder, and former product manager for Facebook turned New York Times Best Selling author of “Chaos Monkeys”, writing for Vanityfair, compared Mark Zuckerberg to the likes of Mass Suicide Leader and Murderer, Jim Jones; Scientologist founder, R. Lon Hubbard; and Joseph Smith, the First Mormon Prophet, among other worshiped historical figures.
But, seriously, even small business owners, mid-level management execs, to that kid in high school and college build their own little cults. Wanting to be a (cult) leader is just some people’s thing. We are social animals, and hierarchy is hardwired in our serotonin system. So, how could you blame ole Zuck for installing a bit of personality cult into the management of a company he co-founded?
Of course, if you consider the hell nonconformist individuals that have an ounce of virtue in them have to go through while everyone in Rome does as the Romans do, then it sidelines on being a dictatorial douche. And, considering how big and influential Facebook is, the Roman empire’s reach is proportionately much smaller than FB’s. Most importantly though, systematically suppressing dissent is plain bad management of a valuable source of information for constant improvement.
Militant suppression of dissidence within the frontlines of active warfare is an outcome of the incapability to manage and address the issues due to strains on resources, and it’s usually seen in the side that’s losing the battle. However, more often than not, in my meandering experience, it is what Tim Harford calls “The God Complex”, that is the cause for demanding total submission of dissent.
CNBC reports: “There’s a real culture of ‘Even if you are f—ing miserable, you need to act like you love this place,'” said one ex-employee.
It’s not exactly like North Korea, and not being in the ranks of elites, it sounds more like being Thai and complaining about the relative lack of freedom of expression. At Facebook, the minority dissidents are scrutinized by the majority so they can stay in a company with a median salary of $240,000. Whereas, in Thailand, well, most people who can leave left, and it’s not even the majority of people who scrutinizes the dissent. It’s like “If you don’t like it here, then get out!”, and people are like “we like it here, but we just don’t like how the country is being runned”, then the accusation of blah blah, and somehow it becomes two to the power of four times the numbers of the “wonders of the world”.
“Facebook’s share price fell nearly 30 percent in 2018 and nearly 40 percent since a peak in July, resulting in a loss of more than $252 billion in market capitalization.” according to CNBC. If, Facebook even goes near the point where there is no $240K median to incentivize people to stay in such environments where how they really feel is suppressed, you could imagine the brain drain. And the reason FB got in to their market capital amputation is because of bad choices. I wonder why none of the brightest of Silicon Valley didn’t feel that the upper management were making bad choices or doing something wrong?