In the wake of internal investigations into her conduct, last week “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg announced she will step down in the fall from chief operating officer at Meta, formerly known as Facebook, to spend more time and money advocating abortion. The investigations included suspicions that Sandberg used corporate resources to plan her wedding, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In April, Sandberg also faced investigations for trying to stop The Daily Mail in 2016 and 2019 from publishing an unfavorable story about her ex-boyfriend. Caroline Nolan, a Meta spokeswoman, told The Wall Street Journal the investigations had no influence on Sandberg’s decision to leave. Sandberg said her decision was influenced by the potential restoration of constitutional jurisprudence on abortion.
“It’s just not a job that leaves room for a lot of other stuff in your life,” Sandberg said of working at Meta in an interview with Fortune. “This is a really important moment for women. This is a really important moment for me to be able to do more with my philanthropy, with my foundation.”
Sandberg worked as COO for Meta for 14 years. During her time working for Meta, Sandberg openly pushed corporate feminism, including in her bestselling 2015 book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” When a Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade majority draft opinion was leaked earlier this year, Sandberg quickly and vocally supported ending human life in the womb.
“If the leaked draft opinion becomes the law of the land, one of our most fundamental rights will be taken away,” Sandberg wrote in an Instagram post following the court leak. “Every woman, no matter where she lives, must be free to choose whether and when she becomes a mother.”
Peter Zaborszky, CEO of the social networking site Retalk, says Sandberg has been a “strong figure” in the left-wing censorship rife on social media. During the 2020 election, Sandberg actively banned many conservative groups, he said. Social media speech repression then moved away from politics into health information during Covid.
“It’s quite clear social media companies can’t stay out of politics, ” said Zaborszky. “They’re affected by their staff and their founders, especially the very very activist staff who dominate the civic in valued companies.”
After her departure, Sandberg will still serve on Meta’s board of directors, but Javier Oliván will take her position as COO. Oliván came up with the idea for Facebook to acquire a VPN company to spy on individuals’ internet traffic, Zaborsky said, ostensibly to enhance advertisements.
“In terms of privacy, it’s a worrying development,” Zaborszky said.