By all accounts, Facebook has had a challenging year, plagued by scandals varying from Cambridge Analytica in the spring to recent reports that COO Sheryl Sandberg ordered research on George Soros and failed to stop Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The crises have already had an impact on share prices, but now appear to be drawing lines between Facebook employees as well.
According to a report from BuzzFeed News, employees are now seemingly divided into three groups. Some are maintaining their loyalty to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sandberg, others think the crisis is the result of biased media attacks, and a third believe a full-blown corporate meltdown is on its way.
One former senior employee told BuzzFeed that the situation has triggered a “bunker mentality” in which “the only survival strategy is to quit or fully buy in.”
Comments from current and former Facebook employees seem to reflect this mentality. Some employees told BuzzFeed that they are holding out hope for a “Sundar or Dara moment,” referring to the leadership changes at Google and Uber. But others were less optimistic, suggesting that paranoia among employees have reached a point that “people now have burner phones to talk shit about the company—not even to reporters, just to other employees.”
BuzzFeed also published several comments made on Blind, a semi-public anonymous messaging board for current and former employees. One person called allegations against Sandberg “baseless media propaganda,” while another argued that “the media will keep attacking and exposing us…until she is gone and there is a shakeup.”
Meanwhile, at least one user appeared to have no qualms about the company or its executive team, writing, “I love Sheryl. Because Mark loves Sheryl. This is Mark’s company, not yours. He knows Sheryl better than you do and knows what this company needs better than you do.” The person added: “I trust Mark. And if Mark drives the company into the ground it’s his company to drive into the ground. Go work somewhere else or go start your own company if you know so much better than him.”
Facebook acknowledged it was a “challenging time” to BuzzFeed, saying in a statement: “We are more determined than ever to continue making progress on the issues we’ve faced.”