‘I Don’t Really Want to Work for Facebook.’ So Say Some Computer Science Students.

from NYTs

A job at Facebook sounds pretty plum. The interns make around $8,000 a month, and an entry-level software engineer makes about $140,000 a year. The food is free. There’s a walking trail with indigenous plants and a juice bar.

But the tone among highly sought-after computer scientists about the social network is changing. On a recent night at the University of California, Berkeley, as a group of young engineers gathered to show off their tech skills, many said they would avoid taking jobs at the social network.

“I’ve heard a lot of employees who work there don’t even use it,” said Niky Arora, 19, an engineering student, who was recently invited to a Facebook recruiting event at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. “I just don’t believe in the product because like, Facebook, the baseline of everything they do is desire to show people more ads.”

Emily Zhong, 20, a computer science major, piped up. “Surprisingly, a lot of my friends now are like, ‘I don’t really want to work for Facebook,’” she said, citing “privacy stuff, fake news, personal data, all of it.”

More here.

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11 Responses to ‘I Don’t Really Want to Work for Facebook.’ So Say Some Computer Science Students.

  1. Douglas Tkac December 7, 2018 at 1:59 am #

    Man oh man, did I find this to be an interesting article for so many reasons.

    First things first, let’s discuss the state of Facebook at the moment: total calamity. Earlier this year when it all proverbially “hit the fan” with Facebook exposing access to the data of 87 million people to Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm. This sparked all sorts of questions and concerns from everyone and anyone: Is Facebook selling my data to others? Who else has access to this information? Do they have my information?

    Because of all of this, Facebook has increasingly grown a bad reputation in 2018 and is desperately trying to rebuild itself through the hoarsely-given responses through Zuckerberg and a overhaul in rebranding, and I can’t say it’s working at the moment. I can’t even tell you of a Generation-Z citizen that uses Facebook more than once a month, let alone trusting the company with any potential data the company might’ve siphoned from said citizens.

    Once that public image of a company starts to become negatively affected, the public will show you how they really feel. As the article says, Facebook seems like a dream job for software developers, seeming like it would be a utopia for the software engineers who have been longing to land a job with one of the “big boys” (among the ranks of Google, Microsoft, SAP, or some other cool company in SoCal). Even an article written by Time.com’s “Money” sector sited Facebook as the #1 Best Place to Work in 2018.

    That article was written in December of 2017, with this article being written November 15th, 2018. Crazy how a year can flip the script right?

    Anyway, I think that this article describes something a lot deeper: the concept of the future generations understanding ethics. This student mentioned in the article could very well make a cool, clean $140K working for Facebook, doing exactly what she planned for and giving her satisfaction (as well as a FAT bank account for a 19 year old). However, she (Niky Arora) doesn’t see it that way. The fact that she is able to distinguish all the trouble that Facebook has had recently and the possible breaches of ethics and is able to tell herself to steer away from Facebook gives me hope for my generation. That is a tough decision to make, and I know that a lot of other kids might have looked into applying and nabbing the position to make a quick buck, but the fact that our generation is starting to care more and more about ethics is a great sign.

    It just goes to show you your company can be great and benefit and spoil its employees to the absolute max, but if the public image isn’t there and your company’s ethics are put into question, then the money and benefits in question might not even matter.

    Schrodt, Paul. “The 100 Best Places to Work in 2018 | Money.” Money, Time.com , 6 Dec. 2017, time.com/money/5047491/the-100-best-places-to-work-in-2018/.

  2. Henry S December 7, 2018 at 7:16 pm #

    I found this article really interesting, as it added a fresh view to the trend I have been tracking og increasing numbers of students seeking jobs in tech. Beyond computer science majors, there are many in the finance world who dream of jumping ship entirely to work at a Facebook, Google or startup. This NYT article reports entry level software engineers earning $140,000 per year, a solid chunk more than entry level investment bankers even with bonus. Until reading this article, I seemed only to hear that a high paying job at a FAANG name was the golden ticket to better work-life balance and a solid paycheck… But this article helped me to question my presupposition.

    As the article reports, it is not the pay or the work-life balance, but rather the changing public perception of Facebook and other tech giants that represents a powerful force pushing students away. The NYT even goes as far as calling the reputation of the company “toxic” and reports that young hires at FB are afraid to share their new jobs with family and friends. It almost sounds like a Wells Fargo or Deutsche Bank situation within finance, in that the jobs still have prestige, but the prestige has been significantly scaled back as “scandal after scandal” break international headlines.

    Across Silicon Valley, the Times reports that career coaches are noting the correlation of tech scandals with the divergence of tech companies’ operations and their mission statements. I thought this finding was pretty interesting. After originally praised by society, I think of movies like “The Social Network” (2010), social media is being vilified. Although denied by companies like FB, perhaps a shrinking talent pool can contribute to a push for the company to behave more ethically.

    We also have a responsibility as society to keep up with how FB and other tech giants are conducting business. If those close to the situation, young software engineers, are raising red flags that something is not right, we need to increase our awareness of the role social media plays in our lives. A digitally literate population maybe the key to ensuring that big tech stays in check.

  3. Josh Shupper January 24, 2019 at 3:22 pm #

    When I think of Facebook, I think of one of the biggest social media platforms in the world along with Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Who wouldn’t want to make a hundred forty thousand dollars by working for Facebook? I would certainly take that job any day of the week. However, Facebook has had and still has a very bad reputation for many scandals over the years, and people are hesitant to work for the company. I can see why people would not want to work for Facebook.
    Facebook today is all about the ads and memes according to the article. It is not about the posts or anything that social media truly focuses on. It is no wonder why Facebook is not as popular today as it once was ten years ago. Applicants who apply for jobs ask questions about all of the controversies in Facebook and how they would fit within the company. I believe that these job applicants have a right to ask questions because they don’t want their reputation to be ruined just because they are employed by a company with a bad reputation. I personally would not want to be in a situation like this.
    One of the reasons that the demand for jobs in Facebook is not as high is because of the fact that there are more popular social media platforms and digital tech companies or corporations. These include Instagram, Snapchat, Google, Microsoft, etc. Plus, none of these companies have any controversy. I think that young students looking for jobs want to make sure that they have a sense of security when it comes to their job along with making sure that the risk of potentially being fired won’t be very high. Most certainly, I won’t blame them either for doing this. People “don’t want to be building it” said Chad Herst in relation to the kids who want to avoid the big social media companies. Of course, this is a risk or reward opportunity. If things go well, the workers will be famous. On the other hand, their reputations will be shattered. Another thing that is important is the ethics of working in a digital tech company. I think that ethics should be considered when doing any sort of job and how the employees in the company respond to and work with their fellow employees.
    Overall, I found this article to be a very good read. It is something that I will definitely take into consideration when it comes to looking for a full-time job and the application process.

  4. Ashley Bock January 24, 2019 at 4:40 pm #

    The thought of working for a big company like Face book may seem to some individuals to be an obvious yes; the salary has a good starting point and the amenities that a person will have access to seem exciting for a new hire. However, when considering the recent events and scandals it makes sense that there is a growing number of people and computer science majors who to do not want to be associated with the company. On the other hand, there are many that want to be a part of this company in order to change the trajectory that it has been taking. The company has over 30,000 employees around the world and recently engineers are being hired at a higher rate than normal. These young group of go-getters are looking to change the company’s issues from within in order to give the public what they want. Social media is taking sides and stirring the pot in the thinking of the population, however it is good that these newly hired employees are pushing the hard questions on the company before they become a part of the team. This is important because the younger associates do not want to be held accountable for the company’s issues. Facebook has a reputation that does not paint their company in the best light and while the company is trying to stay relevant and keep up with all the recent trends, the necessary way to continue with that is to hire the new faces of social media apps and technology. However, these new faces do not want to be connected to the backlash that the company is getting from the social media, which makes sense. So, that is why they want to change what Facebook represents and make it a platform free of scandal. These new engineers should continue to look to create new applications for the social media giant in order to help associate Facebook with positive changes that will make the Facebook users today more excited about the application. Facebook is transforming and the needs for dedicated and motivated applicants are necessary to bring about an optimistic new Facebook.

  5. Richard Gudino January 25, 2019 at 6:04 pm #

    I was always brought up on the idea that the American Dream was to come here to the United States work hard, and with a high enough education get a job that would allow me to live comfortably. This is the goal that all incoming immigrants strive for, it’s because of this that for some they allow their morals to become compromised and allow for their employers to get away with somethings even some scandals. Reading this article, I still side with the idea that even with scandals revolving around Facebook I would not be ashamed to be working for Facebook. There is something enticing and will always be enticing is the paycheck. With a six-figure job of $143,000.00 and a good working environment its almost anything a recently graduated Hispanic student can dream of. To be able to be employed right out of college and support the family, this is the American Dream come true all the prayers of the family to have their kid have a good job at the end of all the years of schooling. So, what’s wrong with this image? Admittingly I was not fully aware of the scandal that had plagued Facebook, I only knew that they had sunk themselves in a whole that a good PR team could not have gotten them out of. Now the legal implications of having private data leaked is a serious offense, one that should be carried out to the full extent of the law. I’m sure our justice system can find a remedy for a corporation having violated the privacy of its user. This article had opened my eyes and made me question my own morals and ethics as to how I approach entering the workforce. I used to believe it was anything to make the dollar, that the almighty dollar held so much value it didn’t matter what I would personally think, who am I an employee in a big tech corporation, why would my opinion matter. I had no idea that the generation that I live in cared so much more about ethics, the article had cited that companies were coming under questioning during interviews. Asking about how they can maintain their beliefs and be able to remind the company of their mission statement. We are becoming more aware and our priorities are coming around and we are placing them first, this can be viewed as one of two ways. That this generation has gone soft and they do not value opportunity, other can think that they are now growing stronger for being able to hold their resolve. In the end who are any of us to judge these young adults, in the end its their lives they choose how to live it and how they choose to make an income. It all becomes their prerogative.

  6. Nicholas Meyerback January 25, 2019 at 8:23 pm #

    There is a monumental shift occurring with the future engineers of America, and tech giants should take notice. Many computer science majors and hopeful engineers are starting to question if they truly want to work for companies like Facebook or Google. In November of 2018 the brightest and best prospects met at Cal Hacks 5.0 , a competition sponsored by Microsoft, to build the best apps. Their comments gave a glimpse into the mindset of a new generation of silicon valley prodigies. At the event some students poked fun at one another for interning at Facebook, citing the recent political and privacy scandals as subject for undermining the position. Likewise, many students at Berkley state that students are beginning to find working for such companies less attractive and almost embarrassing.

    In an ever-changing age of globalization where competition is at its peak, the fact that salary is not the number one motivator is appalling. The economic constraints that will press the generation entering the workforce in the next decade would lead people to believe that financial security would be the priority, especially in the wake of a national college debt crisis. Although it will be more difficult for college students to buy a home than their parents they are still concerned with the image of the company they are joining. Many students are weighing the ethical implications of accepting jobs at unethical companies. This raises the question: should a computer engineer care about the actions of their employer if they’re making $140,000+ a year? For a growing number the answer is yes.

    Scandals have recently ravaged firms that previously had graduates begging for jobs. Evidence of Facebook’s deliberate collection and exploitation of personal information for advertising became apparent in early 2018. There was also an uncovered a link between the situation and the 2016 election. Facebook has been accused of using third party algorithms and AI to predict the psychological status of users and cater political spam to their account. A similar dark cloud has surrounded Google because of their advertising schemes based on client searches. Additionally, Amazon has been criticized because of the possibility that Amazon’s products that respond to verbal commands, like Alexa, may be “listening” to users.

    Privacy scandals are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to negative publicity that silicon valley conglomerates receive. This negative publicity is forcing students to question whether they want to be on the wrong side of history by working for questionable firms. In-fact modern workers are more concerned with perception than any other time in history. Personal branding or the increasingly public image that students grew up with is a catalyst in their decision making process. Ironically, it is the social media giants that created this culture of branding that are receiving backlash. In other words it is the fact that people can see that you work for Facebook on Facebook (or Instagram, LinkedIn etc.) that makes people think twice about working for Facebook.

  7. Shegufta Tasneem January 31, 2019 at 3:10 pm #

    Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and other high-end companies still continue to be lucrative places for internships and employment even though there have been strong allegations on their work and tech ethics over several years now. It’s the dream job of every computer science and engineering student as well as students from business schools to work at one of these companies at some point in their lives. Now, as the students are becoming more and more cautious about their workplaces and their tech ethics, these companies are gradually losing their reputation as a safe and untailed platform for sharing everyday lives of people from all over the world. Facebook has been allegedly said to be a platform whose 95 percent of the job is to share memes over the internet, include more adds to their website instead of maintaining its original form of being a social media platform. Google and Facebook had both been accused of extreme privacy invasions by following and keeping records of every activity of the users and that too, with their agreement when they ask to say yes to the user agreement before opening an account. Through these sleek but gradually evident schemes, Facebook has lost the faith of millions of customers over the years of “scandal after scandal” and as declared by the New York Times, a “toxic” reputation.
    Now, many of the young college students believe that they can change these systems from within and bring it back to their original form. And that is not really impossible if the companies actually admitted to their privacy invasion and ignoring tech ethics practices. College students with computer science majors or even finance majors can climb their way up to the higher positions of these companies and make an impact on the privacy-invading practices. Computer science majors are given the responsibilities of creating apps and adding new features to the existing apps on Facebook and Google. So, instead of avoiding employment at these companies, young college graduates should step in and take responsibility of these malpractices by the companies and with proper guidance as well as careful implications, they can create a change in this string of malpractices on behalf of these highly reputed companies.

  8. Peter Honczaryk February 1, 2019 at 10:26 am #

    Being a business major, I find the best kind of job is the one that pays the most amount of money which is why this article sparked major interest after reading the first line. “The interns make around $8,000, and an entry-level software engineer makes about $140,000 a year. These numbers are huge! If you look up right now the median monthly income in the United States, it states the average American makes about $3,714 per month. Of course, some people make more than that, and some less, so it makes all the difference in the world to be a 19-year-old intern making top dollar. However, money is not the only reason to want to work at any company, but you must love your company and what it stands for.
    Anyone who looks up the top one hundred companies to work in 2019 will notice Facebook has taken seventh place. Upfront, this looks like an incredible accomplishment, until you look at last year’s standings. In 2017, Facebook was ranked THE best place to work at. This may not look like a drastic change, but when your starts to diminish from five stars to four and a half stars throwing you in seventh place over the course of one year shows that something went wrong.
    According to the article, people are leaving Facebook due to the social and political standings that the company is taking, such as one Facebook executive wanted to try to encourage people to connect offline but found resistance in their efforts. This was not the only employee trying to improve the lives of users for the best and instead are being shut down. According to Ms. Brown, the social stigma of Facebook is changing, and students are more concerned about the ethics of the company rather than the financial benefits the company has to offer.
    In conclusion, I found it interesting how more people are starting to grow a conscience and that people looking into the social and political standpoints of their companies rather than their financial expenses. It shows that the new generation is more ethical now than in the past and the company workplace is more important than the money.

  9. Allya Jaquez February 1, 2019 at 10:27 am #

    Just when you thought working for big companies like Facebook would be great for your career, this article explained and showed us that we were all wrong. But Facebook and other big companies like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, etc. still get plenty of individuals who apply for an internship and are proud of it. But many people who are majoring in Computer Science are not sure about that anymore because of all the research they have done. Those who come in for interviews are now asking way more questions about the company and what they will have them doing. Before everyone thought it would be a great job because the company was so big and were paying great. I thought it was pretty interesting finding out that a lot of people who work for Facebook, do not even have a profile because they know everything that comes with it and prefer staying away from it. In the article Emily Zhong says, “Surprisingly, a lot of my friends now are like, ‘I don’t really want to work for Facebook.'” She mentioned this because her friends were concerned about their privacy, all the fake news that is put out on Facebook and their personal data being viewed by individuals they do not know. I believe that a lot of people now do not use Facebook because they are concerned about their own safety and privacy of course. But most people now use Facebook to connect with old friends that they have not seen in years and people even use it to find companionship which could always be a good and bad thing. I personally do not use Facebook because I see no point in it at all with all these other social media apps we have. But I do think it is time for these companies to change the way they work so that they have more people who are interested in working with them in the future.

  10. Daibelis Acevedo February 8, 2019 at 1:03 pm #

    After reading this very astonishing article about young adults who are avoiding jobs for big companies like Facebook, my perspective regarding this topic completely changed. I have always thought that if someone is offered a job for such a big company, why would they ever say no, and that no matter what the job should be taken because opportunities like that don’t just happen every day. The importance of taking a job as an engineer for Facebook is that you are helping and facilitating the content being put out in Facebook and you are a part of what the Facebook community is. I am very amazed by how many young people have said no to Facebook and how many people already know they will not work for them. Niky Arora who is only 19 years old, the same age I am, expressed her thoughts about what Facebook is to her and what she thinks about the employers. I agree with her statement, “I just don’t believe in the product” she also mentioned, “the baseline of everything they do is desire to shoe people more ads” (Arora). Facebook is being used for reasons that it wasn’t even created to be used for. It’s evolving and changing into a very biased community, polarizing ideas and influencing people negatively. In the article they also suggested going back and listening to Mark Zuckerberg’s past statements, to remind them of what was the initial goal and what Zuckerberg really wanted for this social media network. I personally believe that would be a great idea, somewhere in the middle of this the idea of connecting with people was lost and people don’t use Facebook for that anymore. I believe it’s really important for students, or upcoming workers for big companies like these to really look into the company they will be working for. I am happy that these young adults are taking the precaution of what they are getting themselves into before they just sign up for the money. Although a lot of students believe in this idea, there are some that are all talk and still take the job when they see the money offer. Ms. Brown said, “everyone cares about ethics in tech before they get a contract.” I agree with her. For a student, after many years of college and aspirations of working in a big company, an offer that big, like Facebook might be hard to turn down. Once they see the money, the benefits and the offers, although they do not believe in the company, they may still take this big shot job. I hope a lot of upcoming engineers look for jobs with an open mind and always look into the company that is offering them the position.

  11. Doran Abdi February 15, 2019 at 8:06 pm #

    I feel as if the title of this article was a bit misleading. I do not think that this article was a slight to the company of Facebook, but rather to the fact that the students would rather work for a smaller company when they get right out of college. It makes sense for students to want to work for a smaller company when they get out of college as it will help them learn as much as they possible can about the job market that they are looking to get involved in. While I think it is possible that these Computer Science students are not interested in working for a big company like Facebook, I still do think that the controversies that come along with Facebook are a big reason why these students do not want to work for them (much like this article is implying). While this is a very possible reason why these students do not want to work at Facebook, I feel as if the article was hoping to slander Facebook and they found a way to do so. Facebook has way too many controversies in the last few months and every time their name has been in the headlines, it has never been for a good reason. Yet, I can not imagine a single Computer Science student who would pass on the possibility to work at Facebook especially straight out of school. I felt as if what Michael Seibel had said that, “the worst thing that can happen to you is you get a job at Google” was a good way to summarize the whole article. The students were not trying to slander Facebook and the change to work at that specific company, but rather the working at any large tech company. Working at a larger company right out of college will stop a student from truly learning everything someone would have to learn to work at a tech company, but rather not really gaining any true knowledge with the security of a large paycheck and a glamorous job. This article should not have been focused around the idea of working at Facebook, but rather the fact of working at any sort of large tech company in general.

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