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Facebook前员工揭露科技巨头的“肮脏秘密”

Facebook前员工揭露科技巨头的“肮脏秘密”

Danielle Abril 2020年10月26日
这本书是为普通人所写——对不熟悉科技公司的人来说,这将有助于他们了解这些公司内部的情况。

马克•勒基于2018年辞去Facebook经理一职后不久,他在个人博客中展示了他离职前发给同事的一份内部备忘录,话题是Facebook对黑人员工的歧视。现在将近两年过去,他将真实故事写成了轻虚构小说,讲述了大型科技公司如何运作,以及给员工带来的负担。

小说《山谷女孩》(Valley Girls)通过在科技公司Elemynt通讯部门工作的四个主要角色的视角来讲述了故事。勒基表示,这个虚构的公司融合了谷歌、Uber和Facebook等大公司的影子。故事从乐观的开头讲起,随着女性角色在工作中的处境越来越不利,故事也变得越来越糟糕。勒基说,他写这本小说的部分原因是为了保护他的线人,其中很多人和他们的雇主签订了保密协议。

“科技界人士大多从未见过或听说过这些事情。”勒基在一次采访中说,“当丑闻出现时,人们会想到首席执行官和高管要遭殃,但很少思考丑闻背后的一系列策划和动机。”

勒基曾经在Facebook、Reddit和推特等公司工作,担任过多个职位,给影响者和媒体合作伙伴当过助手。在大公司工作期间,勒基说他看到不少年轻的雄心勃勃的专业人士(其中许多人是女性)加入沟通团队后,立马面对着窘境的困扰:即便她们最终与公司意见相左,她们也不得不“隐藏”公司信息,或者是绕过这些信息进行“谈判”。

勒基拥有两个新闻学学位,在主流媒体公司有过工作经验。离开科技行业后,他决定再次投入写作。勒基仍然为大型科技公司的运营方式以及它们在现实生活中的后果感到担忧——比如在公司提供的产品服务上直播枪击事件,以及仇恨组织使用它们的工具进行协同攻击。

勒基意识到他作为一个男人的“特权”:现在,他有了为他人挺身而出的自由,这也成为他撰写新书的一大动因。“我一直在想,如果我必须忍受一点创伤来缓解其他人的痛苦,那么我肯定百分之百愿意。”他说。

为篇幅和简明起见,访谈经过编辑。

《财富》:这本书里的故事有多少是真的?

马克•勒基:这本书中的所有内容都是对现实生活中发生在科技公司的一些事情的糅合或直接引用,不会特别指出是哪家公司。对科技巨头非常熟悉的读者会认出这些来自哪里。

我和大约40位女性对话过,或短,或长。我试图从女性的角度去理解这个世界:从性骚扰的发生,到在浴室里使用的女性用品是什么样子的等等。我问她们的最多的问题是:小说里的情节是否能够准确反映你的经历?

你为这本书起的名字遭到了强烈抵制。你为什么选择《山谷女孩》作为标题?

“山谷女孩”指的是80年代的山谷女孩——公众认为的成天在商场闲逛的愚蠢金发女郎。在我写这本书之前,我就在想这个词或许和科技行业中女性被认为不如男性聪明这个现象有着种种联系。

写一本关于女性的书,标题中提到“女孩”,可能会引起争议。但是,它概括了这本书的意义——“女孩”们在现实世界所面临的挑战。我得在心理上为这个标题可能收到的后果做好准备,但我后来逐渐意识到,书名只是这本书的争议中最小的部分。

你为什么选择关注女性的经历?

这本书不仅仅是关于女性的经历,只是通过女性的镜头视角阐释。我更多想表达的是,不同类型的男男女女,有着不同种族、性取向、能力以及兴趣的人如何交叉,如何解决由此产生的摩擦。

我之所以在离开Facebook时写下备忘录,是因为每周都有人来联系我,倾诉自己和经理的矛盾、工作不顺等这样那样的问题。而这些对话,大多来自于公司里的女性。所以我把这些经历融入到我的作品中,我知道,如果这本书是由一位女性所写,它会有另一个完全不同的维度。但我希望这可以成为一个跳板——让所有性别者都能够讲述自己的故事。

写这本书的时候你学到了什么?

我学到的最大的一点是,在我经历的这些事件中,我并不是一个人,在千千万万诉说者中,大家经历着类似的遭遇。我还更深入地了解到,科技公司内部有多不堪。当把所有这些信息用15万字合在一起时你会发现,从员工层面到高层层面,科技公司自我标榜的道德,显得尤为可疑。

我曾经多次接触过有关用户压制、与政府官员互动、隐藏公司机密、操纵员工和内部讨论的对话。我甚至对家人和朋友都隐瞒了我所了解的一切。最后我决定,我更应当做出努力去解决这一社会畸形现状,而不是和大公司沆瀣一气。

读者听到什么会最感惊讶?

有很多。科技公司的员工能够享受到托儿所、水疗和飞机上的美甲等诸多便利服务。公司的自动售货机里有免费的高科技键盘、鼠标、耳机,这些东西往往价值几百美元。

正如书中所述,这些便利服务用来让员工尽可能多地工作,平息员工的抗议。你想,如果一家公司可以提供你所需要的一切,如果拐角处有一个酒吧和一个拱廊,它还能有多“糟糕”?但实际上,从用户验证的讨论,到利用名人效应的影响,再到性骚扰和性侵,这些公司的秘密远不止这些。

你希望这本书对读者有什么帮助?

这是一个关于分享知识的火把,把它交到人们的手中,让他们做他们想做的事情,不管是否停留在平台层面上。对政府和民间组织来说,这是一个帮助他们追究科技公司责任的指南。它同时也是记者们更好地了解公司内部运作的指南。

这本书我更是为普通人所写——对不熟悉科技公司的人来说,这将有助于他们了解这些公司内部的情况。

你在大型科技公司发现的这些问题要如何解决?

当科技公司受到监管或用户离开平台,触及公司底线时,改变才会真正发生。现在,他们没有做出改变的动力。(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

马克•勒基于2018年辞去Facebook经理一职后不久,他在个人博客中展示了他离职前发给同事的一份内部备忘录,话题是Facebook对黑人员工的歧视。现在将近两年过去,他将真实故事写成了轻虚构小说,讲述了大型科技公司如何运作,以及给员工带来的负担。

小说《山谷女孩》(Valley Girls)通过在科技公司Elemynt通讯部门工作的四个主要角色的视角来讲述了故事。勒基表示,这个虚构的公司融合了谷歌、Uber和Facebook等大公司的影子。故事从乐观的开头讲起,随着女性角色在工作中的处境越来越不利,故事也变得越来越糟糕。勒基说,他写这本小说的部分原因是为了保护他的线人,其中很多人和他们的雇主签订了保密协议。

“科技界人士大多从未见过或听说过这些事情。”勒基在一次采访中说,“当丑闻出现时,人们会想到首席执行官和高管要遭殃,但很少思考丑闻背后的一系列策划和动机。”

勒基曾经在Facebook、Reddit和推特等公司工作,担任过多个职位,给影响者和媒体合作伙伴当过助手。在大公司工作期间,勒基说他看到不少年轻的雄心勃勃的专业人士(其中许多人是女性)加入沟通团队后,立马面对着窘境的困扰:即便她们最终与公司意见相左,她们也不得不“隐藏”公司信息,或者是绕过这些信息进行“谈判”。

勒基拥有两个新闻学学位,在主流媒体公司有过工作经验。离开科技行业后,他决定再次投入写作。勒基仍然为大型科技公司的运营方式以及它们在现实生活中的后果感到担忧——比如在公司提供的产品服务上直播枪击事件,以及仇恨组织使用它们的工具进行协同攻击。

勒基意识到他作为一个男人的“特权”:现在,他有了为他人挺身而出的自由,这也成为他撰写新书的一大动因。“我一直在想,如果我必须忍受一点创伤来缓解其他人的痛苦,那么我肯定百分之百愿意。”他说。

为篇幅和简明起见,访谈经过编辑。

《财富》:这本书里的故事有多少是真的?

马克•勒基:这本书中的所有内容都是对现实生活中发生在科技公司的一些事情的糅合或直接引用,不会特别指出是哪家公司。对科技巨头非常熟悉的读者会认出这些来自哪里。

我和大约40位女性对话过,或短,或长。我试图从女性的角度去理解这个世界:从性骚扰的发生,到在浴室里使用的女性用品是什么样子的等等。我问她们的最多的问题是:小说里的情节是否能够准确反映你的经历?

你为这本书起的名字遭到了强烈抵制。你为什么选择《山谷女孩》作为标题?

“山谷女孩”指的是80年代的山谷女孩——公众认为的成天在商场闲逛的愚蠢金发女郎。在我写这本书之前,我就在想这个词或许和科技行业中女性被认为不如男性聪明这个现象有着种种联系。

写一本关于女性的书,标题中提到“女孩”,可能会引起争议。但是,它概括了这本书的意义——“女孩”们在现实世界所面临的挑战。我得在心理上为这个标题可能收到的后果做好准备,但我后来逐渐意识到,书名只是这本书的争议中最小的部分。

你为什么选择关注女性的经历?

这本书不仅仅是关于女性的经历,只是通过女性的镜头视角阐释。我更多想表达的是,不同类型的男男女女,有着不同种族、性取向、能力以及兴趣的人如何交叉,如何解决由此产生的摩擦。

我之所以在离开Facebook时写下备忘录,是因为每周都有人来联系我,倾诉自己和经理的矛盾、工作不顺等这样那样的问题。而这些对话,大多来自于公司里的女性。所以我把这些经历融入到我的作品中,我知道,如果这本书是由一位女性所写,它会有另一个完全不同的维度。但我希望这可以成为一个跳板——让所有性别者都能够讲述自己的故事。

写这本书的时候你学到了什么?

我学到的最大的一点是,在我经历的这些事件中,我并不是一个人,在千千万万诉说者中,大家经历着类似的遭遇。我还更深入地了解到,科技公司内部有多不堪。当把所有这些信息用15万字合在一起时你会发现,从员工层面到高层层面,科技公司自我标榜的道德,显得尤为可疑。

我曾经多次接触过有关用户压制、与政府官员互动、隐藏公司机密、操纵员工和内部讨论的对话。我甚至对家人和朋友都隐瞒了我所了解的一切。最后我决定,我更应当做出努力去解决这一社会畸形现状,而不是和大公司沆瀣一气。

读者听到什么会最感惊讶?

有很多。科技公司的员工能够享受到托儿所、水疗和飞机上的美甲等诸多便利服务。公司的自动售货机里有免费的高科技键盘、鼠标、耳机,这些东西往往价值几百美元。

正如书中所述,这些便利服务用来让员工尽可能多地工作,平息员工的抗议。你想,如果一家公司可以提供你所需要的一切,如果拐角处有一个酒吧和一个拱廊,它还能有多“糟糕”?但实际上,从用户验证的讨论,到利用名人效应的影响,再到性骚扰和性侵,这些公司的秘密远不止这些。

你希望这本书对读者有什么帮助?

这是一个关于分享知识的火把,把它交到人们的手中,让他们做他们想做的事情,不管是否停留在平台层面上。对政府和民间组织来说,这是一个帮助他们追究科技公司责任的指南。它同时也是记者们更好地了解公司内部运作的指南。

这本书我更是为普通人所写——对不熟悉科技公司的人来说,这将有助于他们了解这些公司内部的情况。

你在大型科技公司发现的这些问题要如何解决?

当科技公司受到监管或用户离开平台,触及公司底线时,改变才会真正发生。现在,他们没有做出改变的动力。(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

Shortly after Mark Luckie left his job as a manager at Facebook in 2018, he revealed in a blog post an internal memo he sent to colleagues before he left. The topic? How Facebook fails its Black employees. Now, nearly two years later, he’s written a lightly fictionalized version of how Big Tech companies operate and the burden they put on some of their employees.

The novel, Valley Girls, tells the story through the lens of four main characters working in the communications department of tech firm, Elemynt, which Luckie said has elements of companies like Google, Uber, and Facebook. The story starts with optimism and gets progressively worse as the characters—all women—are put in increasingly compromising positions at work. Luckie said he wrote the book as fiction partly to protect his sources, many of whom had signed nondisclosure agreements with their employers.

“This is very much a part of tech people don’t see or hear about,” Luckie said in an interview. “When scandals arrive, they think of CEOs and executives. They rarely think about the people crafting the message around it.”

Luckie has worked for companies including Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter, in various roles that aid with influencer and media partnerships. During his time at the tech companies he said he watched young ambitious professionals, many of whom were women, join the communication teams only to face situations in which they might have to “hide” company information or “negotiate” their way out of it even if they ultimately disagreed with the company.

With two journalism degrees and professional experience at major media companies, Luckie wanted to write again following his exit from the tech industry. He still has lingering worries about how Big Tech companies operate and the very real-world consequences, like live-streamed shootings on their services and hate groups using their tools for coordinated attacks.

Luckie recognized his privilege as a man who now had the freedom to stand up for others, and that’s ultimately what led him to write his new book. “The thing I kept thinking about is if I have to endure a little trauma to relieve others of theirs then I’m all for it,” he said.

This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

Fortune: How many of the stories in this book are true?

Mark Luckie: Everything in this book is either a mashup or direct reference to something that has happened in real life in tech companies, though not one in particular. Readers who are very familiar with tech are going to recognize where these references come from.

I talked to about 40 women. Some were small conversations, some were large. But it was to understand this world from a female perspective, everything from sexual harassment to what it’s like to have feminine products in the bathroom. The biggest question I asked them is, how accurate is this as a representation of what you go through?

The name you chose for the book has already received backlash. Why did you choose Valley Girls as the title?

“Valley Girls” is a reference to the valley girls of the ’80s who were these supposedly dumb, ditzy blondes who hung at the mall. Even before I wrote a word of the book, I was thinking about how the term references how women in tech are treated as not as intelligent as men.

Having a book about women that references “girls” in the title would be controversial, but it encapsulates the sense of the book, which is the challenges they face. I had to prepare myself mentally for the kind of blowback it would receive. But what I came to realize is the title is the least controversial part of the book.

Why did you choose to focus on the experience of women?

What’s most important is this book isn’t exclusively about women’s experiences. This is the lens through which the book is presented. It’s more about how different types of women and men and people from various races and sexual orientations and abilities intersect and the friction that that causes.

The reason why I wrote the memo [upon my departure from Facebook] is because every week people reached out saying, “I had this problem with managers and the work I do.” Most of those conversations were with women. So I incorporated those experiences in this. I know this book would’ve had another dimension if it was a book about women by a woman. But I hope this is a springboard for people of all genders to tell their stories.

What did you learn while writing this book?

The biggest lesson I learned is that I was not alone in the experiences I went through, and that there are many shared stories across various demographics. It was also understanding just how bad tech companies are from the inside. When you put all this info together in 150,000 words, the ethics are quite questionable from the employee level to the CEO level.

I’ve been in a lot of rooms and have been privy to conversations about user suppression, interactions with government officials, hiding company secrets, manipulation of employees, and internal discussions. I’ve kept secrets even from family and friends about what I witnessed. And I decided I’m more obligated to making society less dysfunctional than propping up tech companies.

What might people be most surprised to hear?

People will be surprised to hear a lot. The many amenities that tech employees are afforded from childcare to spa treatments to in-flight manicures. The vending machines with free tech—keyboards, mice, headphones, things that cost hundreds of dollars are there for the taking.

As the book goes on those amenities are used to get people to work as much as possible and quell employee protest. Because if a company is giving you everything you need, if there’s a wine bar around the corner and an arcade, how bad could it really be? But there’s everything from discussions about user verification to the effects of the exploitation of celebrity culture to sexual harassment and assault.

What do you hope this book does for people who read it?

This is about sharing the torch of knowledge, putting it into the hands of people, and letting them do what they want, whether it’s to stay on the platform or not. For government and civil organizations, it’s a guide to help them hold tech companies accountable. It’s a guide for reporters and journalists to better understand the inner workings of the companies.

This is going to be useful for people who are not familiar with tech to understand what’s going on inside these companies. That’s who I really wrote it for—the average individual.

What is the fix for these problems you explore at Big Tech companies?

The fix is when tech companies’ bottom line is affected by regulation or users leaving the platform. That’s when the change is really going to happen. Right now, they have no incentive to change.

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