For Ms. Sandberg, the move to Facebook, a company led by an astute 23-year-old college dropout, was not as counterintuitive as it might have appeared. She was vice president at Google, but she crossed a threshold: There were many vice presidents at her level, and they were all competing for promotion. Eric Schmidt, then chief executive officer, wasn’t looking for No. Men who weren’t doing as well were being recognized and achieving higher titles, former Google colleagues maintained.
“Despite leading a larger, more profitable, rapidly growing business than his peers, he was not given the title president, but he was,” said Kim Scott, a leader in the advertising sales division. Ms. Sandberg was looking for something new. He said yes to Facebook.
Mr Zuckerberg brought in Sandberg to deal with the growing unease about the company in Washington. He professionalized the ragtag office there, opened by a recent college graduate whose primary job was to help lawmakers set up their Facebook accounts. He represented Facebook as a member of President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, along with other officials and labor union leaders. After a council meeting, she accompanied Mr. Obama to Facebook headquarters on Air Force One, where the president held a public town hall to discuss the economy. But soon, the front part developed cracks.
According to those who attended the meeting, FTC officials immediately challenged him. Mr Leibovitz noted that, on a personal level, he had seen his middle-school-age daughter struggle with privacy settings on Facebook that automatically made it easier for strangers to find users like her. “I’m watching it at home,” he said.
“That’s great,” replied Ms. Sandberg. He described the social network as “empowering” for younger users. Mr. Leibovitz didn’t mean it was good news – and emphasized that the FTC is deeply concerned about privacy.
Facebook spokeswoman Ms Lever described the meeting as “original”, with a detailed explanation of the company’s privacy policies. He said the characterization of the tension in the room “misrepresents what really happened.”