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What staff working at Facebook really think

Posting in Food

Glassdoor may have voted Facebook as one of the top firms to work for, but some of the social media site's staff members hold a different opinion.

Business Insider compiled a list of comments released by Facebook's employees, including engineers and software developers, based on a Quora Q&A thread.

Employees discuss "what the worst thing is about working for Facebook." A number of the users balance criticism with positive points, including lighthearted complaints about too much free food, but a number of common threads emerge: a lack of communication and guidance, too much emphasis on engineering, non-existent privacy as well as an apparent lack of professionalism.

One anonymous user claims that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg imposes a "holier than thou" attitude on staff and everything around him. The user also accuses Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, of being a constant distraction due to her "extracurricular activities." A separate user says that Zuckerberg is too hands-on, especially problematic now the social media site is publicly trading.

Privacy crops up often within the thread. Some staff complain about the "picnic-style table setup," a lack of personal space, and the need for long, on-call hours.

One poster says that the company's unofficial sport is beer pong, and although Facebook does encourage staff to "be themselves," this can lead to "uncomfortable situations" -- as in one employee's experience when he allegedly had to separate his manager's dirty laundry. One Facebook engineer commented:

"You're expected to drink with your co-workers, be social, hang out outside of work, talk about your lives [...] There's a lot of the peer pressure type elements that don't exist at other companies. It's great to be able to be yourself at work, but there is a significant downside to this."

Another employee said that workers have "no privacy whatsoever at work. At any time."

Some staff members say that the social media site is still trying to act like a young venture, which proves to be the catalyst for a number of other issues. One could argue that these problems are to be expected in large, multinational firms, especially those that have grown at such a rapid pace.

A Facebook engineer highlighted this idea, and reminds us that as companies expand, management should adapt business culture with growth:

"The company over the past few years has grown by a factor of 2 every 18 months or so. Facebook ("move fast and break things") does not, at this point, have what I would call a truly functional infrastructure.

We're trying to figure out how the philosophy of empowering people to just build cool things works in a company with 4,000 employees instead of 500; we're definitely not there yet. It seems weird to complain about the lack of bureaucracy, but it's a problem right now because we're growing so fast and have never emphasized organization, polish, or stability."

Via: The Telegraph

Image credit: CNET UK

— By on September 4, 2013, 12:43 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure