Connect with us


Sheryl Sandberg revealed new Facebook privacy protections at Davos



  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke at a private cocktail party Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • She emphasized how the company had learned from the 2016 election, and how it was working to be more accountable. 
  • Sandberg emphasized her commitment to helping women in particular, and told a story about an Indian woman making money through Facebook marketplace. 
  • She revealed that Facebook is rolling out “privacy checkup” to two billion people to see how their data is being used.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Despite stories about hacking, lack of diversity, and other issues in the industry, Sheryl Sandberg is optimistic about the potential of technology, particularly Facebook, to improve people’s lives.

The Facebook Chief Operating Officer told a private cocktail party at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday that the world is in a “clearly new and much more complicated age.” She noted that Davos historically focuses on economic insecurity, but Sandberg wanted to talk about how Facebook was chipping away at the problem. “We’re democratizing access for small businesses,” she said, citing an economic report that found 25 million small businesses use Facebook apps, like Facebook marketplace. The report also found that Facebook created around three million jobs in European economies, according to Sandberg.

Before Facebook launched Facebook Marketplace in 2016, hundreds of millions of people already used Facebook groups to buy and sell things. The company placed it in the main navigation bar, showing users products for sale near them. At the time of the launch, Marketplace product manager told TechCrunch “We show you the most relevant items for you, even if you don’t know what you want.” It quickly became a site of illicit trade, from drugs to exotic animals to “adult service,” although Facebook said a technical issue allowed these listings to make it past reviewers. 

While she acknowledged that Facebook didn’t know enough about removing bad content or preventing election interference in 2016, Sandberg said that “We’ve shown in the elections since that we can stop election interference and ensure privacy.” As an example of the company holding itself accountable, Sandberg announced that Facebook was rolling out what she called a “privacy checkup” to two billion users, that they can use to see how their data is being used.

Sandberg was also clear in calls for greater government oversight. “We think there needs to be more constraints on companies like ours and more standards that we can all adhere to, so we can decide together what is political speech, what is content that should be reviewed, what is privacy that individuals should have,” she said.

Content moderation and deciding what counts as political speech has historically been a sore spot for Facebook. Decisions like removing protest videos against the Dakota Access Pipeline drew attention to the problem, and misinformation shared on Facebook around the 2016 election that wasn’t removed even led CEO Mark Zuckerberg to make a public apology. In 2018, Facebook faced one of its darkest moments when it was revealed that the social network was used to incite genocide against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar by the country’s military officials.

Despite what Sandberg called “major challenges” that Facebook is facing, she told attendees “We think we are making progress because we are coming together and we continued willing to try our best to do more.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement Find your dream job