Dialogue with recent Facebook interviewees, employees reveals unusual corporate atmosphere

 With over 800 million users, Facebook qualifies as either a global phenomenon or a virulent plague, depending on who you ask. The Palo Alto-based search engine has expanded across the globe and is now making inroads to China. Everything seems to be going Facebook's way, which may be why employees have gotten cocky.

"They want an global presence, you know? They want to be as indelible as e-mail." says a source who recently spent time inside the social network's offices.
That 'global presence' has been a topic of speculation for months now. Will the Facebook/Baidu partnership come to fruition? Can the world's largest social network expand unchecked into its last unconquered territory? As one employee in Facebook's advertising department put it, "We won't stop until every person on Earth has a Facebook page."

Nearly half of America has a Facebook profile. The site is rapidly running out of room for expansion in the first world. Google has struggled and flip-flopped over Chinese censorship laws, but Facebook has kept their cards much closer to their chests. Mark Zuckerberg seems happy to tailor his site to local guidelines, as long as it brings him more users. According to a source who recently spent several weeks inside of Facebook's hiring process, "They know that they need to have a global presence, and so they're very aggressively moving towards that."

Facebook is reportedly preparing to send a "friend request" to China.
[Image Source: Artist Speaks Out]

Facebook places a lot of value on having a 'lean' team. Doing as much as possible with a small core of quality people. There are only around 2,000 employees in the entire company. But rapid expansion has brought about the need for more hands on deck. The social network is heavily recruiting new employees in advertising- specifically, advertiser relations.

"They really need to build out more scalable solutions to handle clients that probably aren't paying as much...the long tail of advertisers, basically. Businesses that aren't spending enough to justify a 'high touch' human relationship, but still need to have some sort of help."

Censorship has been a major issue for Facebook here in the United States. And many have speculated what degree of censorship the company will agree to over in China. As it currently stands, Facebook leaves the management of questionable content up to individual employees acting as moderators.

"Right now they've just got people sort of, independently making that choice [to censor content] and I guess they get sort of hive-mind buyout from other people in the company. 'Can an ad show alcohol?' or 'Can an ad show tobacco', vice-type stuff."

My source added, "They're making it up as they go along."

As slapdash as it sounds, this policy may be the best thing for Facebook right now. Committing to any sort of broad, clear censorship policy would only draw fire when it is inevitably compromised in the name of expansion.

Facebook is a young company, with a powerful 'creation myth'. Their CEO is one of the most influential people on earth- and his employees know it. Multiple sources within Facebook report a sort of "cult worship" around Mark Zuckerberg.

Sources close to Facebook report "cult worship" of CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, within the firm.  [Image Source: imgur]

"The reverence with which they treat [Zuckerberg] is just kind of goofy."

That sort of attitude is only likely to deepen as Facebook goes from success to success. But continued growth with such a lean organization has also caused some issues for the social network. One employee described the corporate atmosphere as "homogenous". This source compared the current Facebook atmosphere to Schmidt-era Google, as the vitality of its dorm-room youth retreated before the advance of stolid bureaucracy.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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