Facebook may seem like a cool place to work, and Mark Zuckerberg can come across as quite likable and approachable. But according to a tell-all book by an advertising manager that was fired by the company, both these assumptions are far from the truth.
Antonio Garcia Martinez has released a book today called “Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley." In it, he alleges that working for the social network was like being in a North Korean-style cult with Zuckerberg taking the role of the unquestioned leader.
It’s claimed that Zuckerberg had a tendency to explode and swear at staff, leading to them nicknaming him “the little emperor.” Martinez also claims that the CEO has a KGB-like internal police force called “the Sec,” which monitored every move staff made.
"We had slogans on the walls, we were all wearing a uniform," he told CBS This Morning. "It all felt very North Korean or Cuban, almost. And so in that moment, I just realized... the motive force in history, which is one egomaniac's twitchy drive and then the common man's desire to be part of a compelling story -- which is what we were, we just were bit players in Zuckerberg's story."
The former employee claims that Zuckerberg possesses a stare that “borders on the psychopathic.” In one extract, Martinez writes how the Facebook boss sent an email with the title “please resign” to every employee in the company, after one person leaked details of a new product. He also blasted the person’s “base moral nature” and said he/she had “betrayed the team.”
One of the more famous incidents in the book is when Zuckerberg declared “total war” on Google following the launch of Google Plus. He allegedly put the entire company on lockdown – stopping anyone from leaving the building – and started quoting Cato the Elder, one of his favorite philosophers. “‘Everyone walked out of there ready to invade Poland if need be,” said Martinez.
Facebook prides itself on being a modern, progressive company. So one of the most damning claims is that sexism is rife within its walls. The book alleges that human resource managers gave speeches to new female employees in which they were told never to wear “distracting clothes.” Any that failed to comply were “read the riot act.”
It’s worth remembering, of course, that tell-all books from disgruntled ex-employees aren’t exactly guaranteed to paint an accurate picture of an organization. And most of the stories about Zuckerberg pale in comparison to some of the tales told about Steve Jobs.
Also, for a man raising concerns about Facebook’s alleged sexism, Martinez doesn’t seem to be much of an equal rights champion himself. “Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of s**t,” he writes.
“They have their self-regarding entitlement feminism and ceaselessly vaunt their independence but the reality is, come the epidemic plague or foreign invasion, they'd become precisely the sort of useless baggage you'd trade for a box of shotgun shells or a jerry can of diesel.” It’s hard to imagine why Facebook let him go.