Facebook is increasingly under scrutiny from politicians, regular users and everyone in between — one of several tech companies facing a “techlash” for its perceived role in today’s economic and political disruptions.
On the latest episode of Recode Decode, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company understands the “legitimate” fears people have about Facebook and is “serious about the issues facing our country.” Speaking with Recode’s Kara Swisher at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco, Sandberg said Facebook is training small businesses in digital skills.
“Most job growth in the U.S. and around the world comes from small businesses,” Sandberg said. “The small businesses that use Facebook, they’re not tech businesses — they’re powered by tech, but they are the barber, the baker, the Cupcake Royale. We need to help address that.”
Sandberg said she believes people’s uncertainty about what effect tech companies might have on their lives in the future is what’s driving the techlash.
“There’s a real fear of and feeling of economic insecurity, that technology has taken some people with it and either left other people behind — or people are afraid they will be left behind, and that creates a very legitimate fear,” she said.
“As the tech companies have gotten big, we have a really deep responsibility, and that responsibility grows as we grow,” Sandberg added. “We need to address both sides of that, and that’s what we’re doing.”
On the new podcast, Sandberg also talked about the #MeToo movement and what needs to happen now that everyone is more aware of the challenges women face in the workplace.
“We need a world where women don’t get sexually harassed,” she said. “But — this is important — that’s not enough. We need a world where women — and women of color particularly — get equal opportunity. It is not enough not to harass us. That’s good, necessary, but not sufficient.”
Sandberg cited a survey conducted by her Lean In foundation, which discovered that almost half of male managers in the U.S. were afraid to do common work activities with women. This is a huge detriment to mentoring and to women’s ability to advance as quickly as their male colleagues, Sandberg said.
“I believe people should be able to interact one-on-one in a work environment and nothing bad should happen,” she said. “If you’re not comfortable getting dinner with women, do not have dinner with men. We need to be explicit about this, because I think this is quietly and insidiously happening.”
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.