LEAKED Email Sent To All Facebook Employees Ordering A Resignation….
A leak from the Facebook hive to a tech publication claimed that Facebook was working on a mobile phone.
Not so, according to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook.
And, after denying the content of the leak to TechCrunch, Zuckerberg went ballistic, sending an angry email to everyone and telling the leaker to resign, followed by the threat, “If you don’t resign, we will almost certainly find out who you are anyway.”
As a retired business professor, when I see executives at major corporations making major mistakes, I jokingly ask, “Why didn’t they take one of my courses?”
With that in mind, let’s continue discussing this real-world case.
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The email from Zuckerberg, with the subject line “Please Resign,” was sent more than a decade ago, but it was only recently discovered on the Twitter account “Internal Tech Emails.”
According to Reuters, the story follows accounts of Zuckerberg’s dictatorial management and ongoing workforce reductions at Facebook — now Meta — totaling 21,000 from last fall to the end of this year.
“It is frustrating and destructive that anyone here thought (it) was okay to say this to anyone outside the company,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“The fact that the story was inaccurate doesn’t make it any better,” he said, lamenting the need to spend time “cleaning up the damage from this mess” and assuring cell phone companies with whom Facebook was collaborating that Zuckerberg’s company would not become a competitor.
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By the way, maybe we’ll talk about how Jeff Bezos and Amazon like to partner with people and then turn on them and compete with them in the next class. But, I digress…
“So I’m asking whoever leaked this to resign immediately,” Zuckerberg’s email said. “If you believe that it’s ever appropriate to leak internal information, you should leave. If you don’t resign, we will almost certainly find out who you are anyway.”
According to the email, Facebook is “a company that promotes openness and transparency, both in the world at large and here at Facebook.” (Of course, this was written long before hordes of Facebook fact-checkers failed to capture major aspects of conspiracy theories-turned-generally-accepted-truths).
“But the cost of an open culture is that we all have to protect the confidential information we share internally. If we don’t, we screw over everyone working their a***s off to change the world.”
WARNING: The following tweet contains vulgar language that some may find offensive.
Mark Zuckerberg: "Please Resign"
September 22, 2010 pic.twitter.com/3Coz46QFRR
— Internal Tech Emails (@TechEmails) March 19, 2023
Changing the world was bold talk from Zuckerberg, but it was foresighted given Facebook’s role in influencing election results. In any case, let’s take a look at Zuckerberg’s reaction to the leak and how he could have handled it better.
First and foremost, we must be patient with the man.
Like so many brilliant entrepreneurs, Zuckerberg may lack the skills required to run a massive corporation. The skill sets required to launch a product from a garage or a college dorm room differ from those required to manage thousands of people and multiple properties.
It’s a familiar story: intractable manufacturing genius Henry Ford lost his car market leadership to General Motors in the 1920s because Ford believed his ideas from 1912 were still good enough, whereas GM recognized the changing times.
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Steve Jobs was so out of control that his company, Apple, fired him until they needed him back to create revolutionary products like the iPod and iPhone.
Wise entrepreneurs recognize their own limitations, and as their company grows, they may need to hire a professional management team.
However, Zuckerberg did have a serious problem: confidential information had been leaked. So, how do you deal with it?
Without a doubt, Facebook employees, like many others, were told not to speak with members of the media without permission. That’s fine; it protects the company from exactly what happened: publicizing incorrect information. Employees may also be required to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Perhaps a generic email reminding employees to keep things confidential would be a better way to address the leak. Instead of making a fuss, remind people of their responsibilities, correct any misinformation, and then move on.
True, it can be frustrating for a manager when someone does the wrong thing, but if that person is unknown and cannot be addressed personally, yelling at the entire team weakens the manager and undermines morale.
If the culprit must be identified, as in a situation where management discovers someone is involved in illegal activity, this can be done discreetly.
Respect for employees, avoidance of a fearful atmosphere, careful discerning of problems, and case-by-case examination of issues can all contribute to a positive professional environment.
And it keeps those slanderous emails from becoming public after more than a decade.
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