Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was in Dublin on Monday to attend a series of events including Facebook’s ‘Gather’ – held in Croke Park – at which she delivered the keynote address and announced investments in Ireland in 2019.
During her keynote speech, Sandberg affirmed Facebook’s continued commitment to its Irish operation, which is the largest outside of its headquarters in California. Building on last year’s Ballsbridge Campus expansion plan, Sheryl announced that Facebook bosses plan to hire 1,000 people across 60 teams in Ireland in 2019.
The jobs created will span the engineering, safety, legal, policy, marketing and sales teams.
In addition, Sheryl Sandberg revealed that Facebook is tripling its investment in online safety programmes run by the National Anti-Bullying Centre (ABC) and SpunOut.ie, bringing the total investment to €1 million.
Sandberg spoke fluidly about Facebook's new approach to safety – the business of model of which, she reveals, has been "questioned" as of late.
Acknowledging the need to earn users’ trust, she noted that, “Facebook is a very different company to what it was in 2016 or even a year ago.
"We need to do a better job keeping people safe on our platform. We were so focused on the good ... we did not do enough to prevent the bad."
This undoubtedly follows the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal which saw Cambridge Analytica harvest the personal data of millions of people's Facebook profiles without their consent and used it for political purposes.
Sandberg alluded to this, by admitting that Facebook "needs to do a better job in keeping people safe".
Stating that Facebook is not going to get over this global scandal with "words alone", the 49-year-old went on to reveal the five areas where Facebook is working to "prevent harm" on the social media platform.
- Investing in safety and security – Sandberg mentioned that Facebook has massively ramped up in safety and security, employing thrice the number of employees they had in that area this time last year.
- Protecting against election interference – Sandberg cited "major defences" which have been built to prevent democratic tampering.
- Cracking down on fake accounts and misinformation – Facebook is now pulling down more than a million accounts a day, according to Sandberg. They plan to continue this work and decreasing fake news across the world by working closely with face checkers.
- Making sure that people control their information - "We have work to do in this area", Sanberg admits. Privacy checks will be continued and strengthened to allow users to fully understand data to its very core.
- Being much more transparent / Being open in what we do – A community standards report (showcasing a list of what profiles and harmful comments are taken down/which of these posts are missed by Facebook and reported by Facebook users) will be published quarterly.
"Because keeping people safe is as important as anything can be for our company," she concluded.
A live stream of the Sandberg's keynote address can be seen here.