Mark Zuckerberg as a boss terrifies me after seeing an email he sent: ‘You should figure out how to do this.’

Mark Zuckerberg as a boss terrifies me after seeing an email he sent: ‘You should figure out how to do this.’
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Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled "Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis," in Dirksen building on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.
Imagine your boss, Mark Zuckerberg, sending you a stern email. Yikes.

  • A lawsuit alleging Meta snooped on rival apps is eye-opening — but I’m stuck on how scary Mark Zuckerberg seems over email.
  • “You should figure out how to do this,” Mark Zuckerberg told one of his employees.
  • That kind of email from your boss is absolutely spine-tingling.

There is one thing that all employees can agree on, one solidarity among the working man and woman: There are some messages from your boss that are absolutely terrifying — chief among those is, “Do you have a minute?”

CEOs (and bosses) have a unique way of emailing: It tends to be short and immediate. A response within minutes, short and to the point, none of the “hope this email finds you well” filler. It’s efficient but can be harrowing for employees who try to read sentiment between the lines.

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Mark Zuckerberg, apparently, has his own specific way of being terrifying as a boss.

Newly unsealed documents from a lawsuit brought against Meta reveal that Zuckerberg directed his underlings to figure out a way to track user analytics from competitors — specifically Snapchat back in 2016.

Here’s the basic gist from a story reported by my colleagues Kali Hays and Jack Newsham:

Meta acquired a company called Onavo, which had a user privacy app that tracked user data about other apps (ironic, eh?). This data had valuable information about which new apps were blowing up, like WhatsApp, which Meta then went out and bought.

But competitor Snapchat’s user data was encrypted, which meant through Onavo, Facebook couldn’t see what was happening on Snapchat.

Zuckerberg sent an email (which has now been revealed in the lawsuit) to a few Facebook employees, including Javier Olivan (now Meta’s COO), telling them that he wanted them to essentially figure out a way around that encryption.

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According to emails in the lawsuit, Zuckerberg wrote to three employees:

Whenever someone asks a question about Snapchat, the answer is usually that because their traffic is encrypted, we have no analytics on them.
Given how quickly they’re growing, it seems important to figure out a new way to get reliable analytics about them. Perhaps we need to do panels or write custom software. You should figure out how to do this.

Let’s put aside the alarming fact that Facebook’s CEO appears to be directing his head of growth to do something to break or get around Snapchat’s encryption — something that even other Meta executives questioned, according to documents unsealed in the suit. “I can’t think of a good argument for why this is okay,” said the then-head of security and privacy engineering.

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(And this was when Zuckerberg considered himself a “peacetime” CEO!)

What I find absolutely bone-chilling is the last line in Zuck’s email: “You should figure out how to do this.”

There’s nothing more terrifying than getting a message from your boss suggesting you should simply figure out how to do something. To the credit of Meta employees, they did apparently figure it out. Whether that’s a badge of project-management honor or a hugely problematic and scandalous action, well, I’m not judging. I just know I would absolutely crap my pants if I got that email from my boss.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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