Meta COO Sandberg urged to quit over pressuring Daily Mail to drop story | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

The co-founder of UltraViolet, an American national gender justice advocacy organisation, has called on Meta chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to step down following reports that she had heavied a newspaper to drop a report about her boyfriend.

Meta is the parent organisation of Facebook which drives a good portion of the traffic that online news sites get.

Shaunna Thomas said in a statement that the report, in The Wall Street Journal, had detailed the way in which Sandberg pressured the Mail Online, the digital version of the Daily Mail, in order to avoid exposing her then-boyfriend, Activision Blizzard chief executive Bobby Kotick, who faced a temporary restraining order from an ex-girlfriend accusing him of harassment.

The WSJ report said Sandberg had contacted the Mail Online in 2016 and 2019. She and Kotick had worked with a team from Facebook and Activision to persuade the newspaper not to report on the restraining order, first in 2016 when they began seeing each other and later in 2019 when they were splitting up, the report claimed.

Thomas said in a statement: “Sheryl Sandberg is keen on telling women to speak up for themselves and ‘lean in,’ yet when they do they are often attacked on Meta’s social platform for her own (and the company’s) profit. Now we know that Sandberg is also abusing her and Meta’s influence to threaten others and protect her own personal brand.

“Sandberg may fancy herself a feminist, but under her leadership Facebook has become a right-wing playground where misogyny, racism, disinformation, violent organising, and hateful conspiracy theories grow and spread.

“For years, Sandberg has been in an optimal position to make Facebook safer for women, but like chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, she has consistently failed to take action.

“The latest reports — that Sandberg actively used her power at Meta to cover up the abusive behaviour of her ex-boyfriend, Bobby Kotick to protect her personal brand — are a final straw.

“While Sandberg is not responsible for the actions of Bobby Kotick, she is responsible for abusing her position at Meta to leverage company resources to cover up Kotick’s abuse. The fact that Sandberg used her power to silence women and protect her own image, says all you need to know about her values and priorities.

“Sheryl Sandberg must resign. Immediately.”

Her statement said in 2012, UltraViolet had called on Facebook to put Sandberg on its board. However, in 2020 the organisation had said that campaign was a mistake, citing Sandberg’s record at Facebook. This is the first time that UltraViolet has called for Sandberg’s resignation.


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