Opinion: With Sheryl Sandberg leaving Facebook, Wall Street should fear for its future

When Sheryl Sandberg first joined Facebook in 2008, she was often dubbed the “adult in the room” who could help then-just 24-year-old co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg grow it into a company Wall Street could trust .

Nearly a decade and a half later, Sandberg announced her impending departure on Wednesday after fulfilling that job description as chief operating officer. She was a key force in the development of the advertising business, which now accounts for the majority of the revenue of a company worth more than half a trillion dollars, and nurtured relationships with large advertisers and small businesses while the social media powerhouse grew its vines spread around the globe.

However, when she leaves, Zuckerberg and the company he renamed Meta Platforms Inc. FB leave
are not yet to be trusted. And after Facebook’s Boy King announced in a Facebook post that he won’t seek to appoint an executive in a similarly powerful role, investors and users alike should be concerned about the future of a company trying to carve its way into a prominent position in what Zuckerberg believes will be the next generation of the internet force.

Zuckerberg has faced criticism for many years, both for the troubling corporate structure that puts him in complete control of the company and for Facebook’s many missteps, ranging from poor moderation of harmful content to compromising user privacy to a multitude of other problems.

More recently, Zuckerberg has led the company to bet on the “metaverse,” spending billions in its latest attempt at making virtual reality a reality. But without the right-wing executive who was instrumental in influencing him in Facebook’s early days, why should investors trust Zuckerberg’s ability to adequately monetize these efforts?

Zuckerberg said he will replace Sandberg with product manager Javier Olivan in the fall, but said he doesn’t expect to replace Sandberg in the company’s infrastructure and it’s not clear how much of an impact Olivan will have.

Also read: Sheryl Sandberg is the youngest billionaire to shift focus to philanthropy: ‘We’ll be able to do more, faster’

Sandberg is not innocent of the problems at Facebook. After the 2016 US presidential election, Zuckerberg blamed Sandberg and her teams for the fallout from Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. according to the Wall Street Journal. But at least she ran the firm like a corporation, rather than the cool tech lab that Zuckerberg seems to think he owns and is responsible for, while giving little thought to the ramifications of his experiments.

Many meta-investors have held their noses while continuing to hold the stock, admitting that while many elements of Facebook and Instagram are off-putting at times, the fat profits and strong revenue growth allow them to ignore the troublesome issues . Those earnings were due in large part to Sandberg’s efforts, leaving investors without them to decide whether the company will be worth the stink going forward. Opinion: With Sheryl Sandberg leaving Facebook, Wall Street should fear for its future

Brian Lowry

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