Facebook employees are turning on boss Mark Zuckerberg, it was reported last night, as British MPs leaked a trove of documents then accused the company of spying on users’ calls and texts and signing secret deals to give access to their data.
Former workers described a ‘toxic and hostile’ atmosphere at the social media giant which has suffered a torrid few years battling data scandals and fake news.
Amid the anger, Zuckerberg was forced to defend himself on Wednesday night, saying in a lengthy Facebook post that the company ‘never sold anyone’s data’.
He also denied allegations by Damian Collins, the British MP who leaked the documents, that changes Facebook made to its platform in 2015 were designed to extract money from developers in return for access to data.
He wrote: ‘We’ve focused on preventing abusive apps for years, and that was the main purpose of this major platform change starting in 2014.
‘In fact, this was the change required to prevent the situation with Cambridge Analytica.
‘While we made this change several years ago, if we had only done it a year sooner we could have prevented that situation completely.’
Despite his comments, one former senior employee told Buzzfeed News that workers are desperate for a change of leadership.
‘People are hoping for a Sundar or Dara moment,’ the worker said referring to Uber’s new boss Dara Khosrowshahi and Google’s chief Sundar Pichai.
Another said staff fear being scolded by furious bosses who are ‘spouting full-blown anti-media rhetoric, saying that the press is ganging up on Facebook.’
The source revealed: ‘People now have burner phones to talk shit about the company – not even to reporters, just to other employees.’
They said staff are at rock bottom, adding: ‘It’s the bunker mentality. These people have been under siege for 600 days now. They’re getting tired, getting cranky – the only survival strategy is to quit or fully buy in.’
A Facebook spokesman last night admitted: ‘This a challenging time.’
The reports pile even more pressure on Mr Zuckerberg as MP Damian Collins, who is leading an investigation into fake news, yesterday published a 250-page document containing secret emails and private messages between Facebook staff.