Saturday 20 July 2019

Facebook adds 1,000 jobs as chief admits to 'harm' on its platform

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Facebook is to become one of Dublin's biggest employers, adding 1,000 jobs to its growing operation here.

Speaking in Dublin, the company's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said the new jobs would bring the company's employment tally to almost 5,000 by the end of the year, up from 4,000 at present.

The jobs will be at Facebook's new corporate campus, occupying what used to be the AIB centre in Ballsbridge.

Facebook Ireland's Irish head of office, Gareth Lambe, said the new campus could accommodate up to 7,000 staff.

It's the second major jobs announcement to benefit Dublin in the last week, with the business software company Salesforce having unveiled plans to hire another 1,500 people for its Dublin base.

Ms Sandberg was in Dublin at the same time her company's appeal was being heard in the Supreme Court here on the matter of data transfers between the EU and US.

Last year, the Irish High Court referred to the European Court of Justice an issue concerning the validity of EU-US data transfers. Facebook is arguing that the matter should not be referred to the European court, alleging that the international 'Privacy Shield' agreement between the EU and the US offers adequate privacy protection to European citizens.

Ms Sandberg was also scheduled to meet one minister of state, Helen McEntee, and the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) Helen Dixon. She also had a meeting with teachers in DCU and 500 small businesses at an event in Croke Park.

The Irish DPC has two separate investigations into Facebook at present relating to separate data breaches.

Ms Sandberg said that Facebook was trying to change the way it handled controversial issues, such as election interference and hate speech.

"We need to do a better job keeping people safe on our platform," she said.

"We did not do enough to prevent the bad. We didn't anticipate that when you connect this many people around the world, there are real risks. We're not going to earn people's trust with words alone. We're going to earn that with actions, with the steps we take to prevent the harm."

Key priority areas, she said, included "the safety and security of Facebook's users, the commitment to cracking down on fake accounts and false news, strengthening defences against election interference and being even more transparent in how it operates and makes decisions, to make itself more publicly accountable".

Ms Sandberg said Facebook was tripling its investment in online safety programmes run by the National Anti-Bullying Centre at DCU and, to €1m.

Some of this would be spent on teacher training programmes, she said.

Irish Independent

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