Note from Robin:
This saga appeared in my secure dropbox late last month, along with a plea to post it on Facebook today in exactly the format you see here. I gather I’m not the only one to have received those instructions. I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the story, but I thought it was certainly weird and interesting enough to share.
The last thing I want to do is write this down, but I’m doing it anyway, partially because people ought to know what’s happening with the things they post here, but mainly (like 99%) because of Julie Rubicon and the spike.
My former peeps at Facebook Inc. of Menlo Park, California—hi Jane; hi Neel; hi… Mark?—will know immediately who’s written this, and the company will probably pursue me, but I predict it will do so quietly. The SEC won’t be so discreet, if indeed there is a rule covering the deeds that follow, but honestly… I’m not sure there is.
I’m typing this on February 27, 2016. Today was my last day at Facebook. I turned in my badge and my laptop and I walked onto Willow Road with a flash drive containing the images you’ll see below. Outside, I watched the dogfood builds disappear from my phone’s home screen one by one.
It feels strange not to be a Facebook employee, even though I spent most of my time there expecting to be fired. I started on the product team, where I did not excel, moved over to ads, which was worse, and ended up in PIG.
Facebook offers, to certain of its largest advertising clients, the services of the Partner Intelligence Group. PIG is where my story begins.
Any individual user of Facebook sees only see a narrow, personalized slice of the system. Facebook itself has a broader view. From my desk in the PIG pod, I could run queries across all posts and comments, public and non-public. Private messages, too. I could ask: how many people on Facebook talked about the U.S. presidential election today? How many of them posted something about Donald Trump? How many of those posts included the
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