- On Tuesday morning, The Verge published the transcript from audio at a July Facebook meeting.
- The transcript provided a look at the weekly all-hands meetings at Facebook, which are typically kept secret by employees.
- Zuckerberg reacted to the leak by promoting a link to it on Facebook, an unusual move by a company that is very sensitive to leaks.
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Describing the leaked transcript as a “unfiltered” look at how he thinks about important topics like social responsibility and tech regulation, the Facebook CEO invited his 117 million followers – and anyone else in the public – to check it out. Zuckerberg even included a link to tech site The Verge, which had obtained the transcript and published it on Tuesday morning.
“Every week I do a Q&A at Facebook where employees get to ask me anything and I share openly what I’m thinking on all kinds of projects and issues,” Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post on Tuesday. He explained that the content of the meeting was meant to be internal at Facebook, but now that it had leaked, “You can check it out if you’re interested in seeing an unfiltered version of what I’m thinking and telling employees on a bunch of topics like social responsibility, breaking up tech companies, Libra, neural computing interfaces, and doing the right thing over the long term.”
Facebook, like several high-profile tech companies including Google and Twitter, hosts weekly all-hands meetings in which anyone at the company can directly question management about any subject. Usually, the executives are surprisingly candid during these meetings. And for that reason, there is a widely-held commitment among employees not to leak what is discussed at the meetings.
When a Google all-hands meeting addressing the company’s controversial plans to re-enter China was relayed live to a New York Times reporter in 2018, many Google employees reacted with fury. Google imposed new restrictions on the meetings in the wake of the incident, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stopped attending for months.
That makes Zuckerberg’s eagerness to share the private meeting all the more remarkable.
Facebook is currently under fire from regulators and politicians, who are investigating the company’s business practices and in some cases, even threatening to split the company up. The leaked Facebook transcript, which was from a weekly meeting that took place in July, provides a look at how Zuckerberg plans to respond to the threat.
“If someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight,” Zuckerberg tells the troops, later noting that he believes Facebook will win a legal challenge to any attempts to break it up.
If you’re wondering whether Facebook might have leaked the transcript itself, The Verge’s Casey Newton said in a tweet that that’s not the case.
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) October 1, 2019