MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA: Facebook is not looking at breaking up the social media giant, its COO Sheryl Sandberg said on Wednesday. Sandberg was taking questions from journalists, one of which referred to FB co-founder Chris Hughes’s recent op-ed piece in New York Times that suggested FB be “separated into multiple companies”.

Hughes, who joined hands with Mark Zuckerberg to launch FB from their Harvard hostel 15 years ago, had argued that company’s size had given its CEO Zuckerberg “staggering” influence that is “unprecedented and un-American”.

Facebook backs Meesho in first startup investment in India

Social networking giant Facebook has picked up a minority stake in social-commerce company Meesho in its first startup investment in the country. While the companies did not announce the deal size, Facebook’s investment is pegged at $25 million and could be part of a larger round of $100 million that Meesho is raising, according to sources.

Acknowledging concerns of increasing influence of big companies as hers, Sandberg said regulations were important. Emphasising on enhancement of regulatory frameworks to combat privacy issues, she said the company is to set up regulatory content board with zero interference from her or Zuckerberg.

“We think we need a more robust regulatory framework, and we’re working with leaders around the world on laws,” she said. As for transparency, she said FB files transparency reports every six months, and from next year it will do it every quarter.

Facing reporters from across 50 countries on Wednesday, the COO evaded questions on a Wall Street Journal report last week that “Facebook had uncovered emails that appear to connect Zuckerberg to potentially problematic privacy practices at the company”.

Facebook plans cryptocurrency launch in 2020

Facebook’s currency would be “stablecoin”, a digital unit pegged to the dollar in contrast to more anarchic means of virtual payment such as bitcoin, according to earlier reporting by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal among others. With more than two billion users, Facebook could have the clout to take cryptocurrency mainstream and emulate the likes of WeChat in China.

Sandberg said all big companies across the world have faced difficult situations at one point. The situation FB finds itself in is similar to what the print industry, radio channels, railroads and television industry had to go through for several years, she said.

Speaking in a more general context, Sandberg said the company was committed to weeding out bad content. “We see the very best and very worst of humanity. We are making sure that … we do everything we can to prevent the bad,” she said.

Sandberg said massive investments have been made by the company to make the social media experience worthwhile despite all the negative traction they have been getting. “I joined the Facebook 11 years ago and I didn’t know the magnitude of technology, but today I can say we have jumped leaps and bounds through our tools and products,” she said.

Asked how men continue to dominate the tech field, the 49-year-old COO said the gap had to be bridged as not many women learn coding.

(The writer is on an invitation from Facebook)

 

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