CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Speaking on the MIT graduation on Friday, June eight, Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg informed college students to be “clear-eyed optimists.” She urged them them to proceed constructing expertise that helps “equality, democracy, reality and kindness” whereas additionally “trying round corners, and throwing up each doable roadblock towards hate, violence, and deception.”
“It’s not sufficient to be technologists. We need to make it possible for expertise serves folks,” she mentioned, in a speech titled “Technology wants a human heartbeat.”
She added: “It’s not sufficient to have a good suggestion — we’ve got to know when to cease a nasty one.”
Sandberg’s speech comes as Facebook faces intense scrutiny from lawmakers and the general public after a collection of scandals involving data-privacy considerations including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, promotion and amplification of faux information, Russian interference within the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the platform’s destabilizing and unintended penalties around the globe.
Most recently, Facebook found itself again in scandal this week when it revealed that a software program bug set posts for “public” even once they have been meant just for Facebook pals.
“I’m pleased with what Facebook has finished — the connections folks have created,” mentioned Sandberg, referencing social causes just like the Women’s March and Black Lives Matter, in addition to small enterprise use. “But at Facebook we didn’t see all of the dangers coming, and we didn’t do sufficient to cease them.”
Sandberg referenced the similarities between Facebook and the radio, quoting journalist Anne O’Hare McCormick’s 1932 remarks about whether or not the radio defined the “livid fence-building, the fanned-up nationalisms, the angers and neuroses of our time.”
“When everybody can share, some share lies,” she mentioned. “When everybody can manage, some manage towards the issues we worth most.”
Sandberg: ask “ought to we” in addition to “may we”
To the graduates, she advocated for each optimism and realism in terms of the applied sciences a few of these graduates will little question create. MIT, one of many world’s premiere establishments of tech, counts many notable graduates from the Koch brothers to astronaut Buzz Aldrin as graduates.
Sandberg famous that expertise modifications quicker than society, making this course of tough and requiring graduates to be energetic observers of those modifications.
“Many of you’ll work on applied sciences that can change the best way we reside and work,” she mentioned. “We have an obligation of care.’
Sandberg’s remarks come as Facebook makes an attempt to cope with the fallout from its lack of foresight into how its expertise could be misused.
Education, #metoo, and prejudice
Aside from speaking about and round Facebook’s cautionary story, Sandberg known as for instructional reform in order that code is taught and for management from the tech business for office change to incorporate paid household go away and bereavement go away. Sandberg’s husband Dave Goldberg died abruptly in 2015 in Mexico, a tragedy Sandberg has written and spoken about at size.
Sandberg additionally known as out skeptics of range within the office who really feel it’s one thing to do to “really feel higher.”
“They are improper,” she mentioned. “We can’t construct expertise for equality and democracy until we’ve got and harness range in its creation.”
Sandberg reminded that tech typically comprises and perpetuates human prejudices, and that “instruments are formed by the minds that make them.” Underscoring the naivité of Facebook management amid their present issues, she added, “or the palms that use them.”
Sandberg additionally talked concerning the unintended backlash to #metoo within the office, through which ladies are excluded from mentoring or one-on-one conferences.
“For the boys right here, somebody might pull you apart in your first week at work and let you know that you must by no means be alone with a lady,” she mentioned. “You know they’re improper.”
Not her first commencement speech
Sandberg — who gave a series of interviews about knowledge privateness forward of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony in April — is not any stranger to the commencement-speech circuit. She has beforehand given speeches on the graduations of Barnard College, Harvard Business School, and Virginia Tech. The Facebook COO additionally spoke to UC Berkeley’s graduating class of 2016, the place she spoke concerning the 2015 death of her husband.
The newest commencement speech from Sandberg comes not removed from the place she accomplished her personal research at Harvard, the place she graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in economics and an MBA.