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Facebook Should Do Better For New Mothers: Ex-Data Scientist

Technology companies in Silicon Valley have been rushing to extend parental leave allowances and other benefits to help recruit and retain employees

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Facebook faces lawsuit for hiding job ads from women. Pixabay
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Facebook should do better for families — especially for new mothers — by allowing them flexible work hours so that they are not forced to leave their jobs, a former employee has stressed.

Writing in The Wired on Sunday, Eliza Khuner, a data scientist who worked at Facebook from November 2017 to July 2018, said she had to leave her job at Facebook as the company has no policy for those who have to balance motherhood with their jobs.

“I love my job, but I love my baby even more. When I told Facebook I wanted to work from home part-time, HR was firm: You can’t work from home, you can’t work part-time and you can’t take extra unpaid leave,” Khuner wrote.

“In mid-July, with the heartache of a break-up, I sent my resignation letter. I also wrote another note describing my agonising choice, saying that Facebook could and should do better for families. I posted it internally, in a group for Facebook employees worldwide,” she added.

To her surprise, over 5,500 Facebook employees reacted in support.

“Hundreds commented, telling me I wasn’t alone. Mothers shared how they struggled to perform at work and be there for their kids, and how sad they were to miss the special moments.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

“Fathers said they felt the strain of not being with their children. People with no kids chimed in with their support,” Khuner said.

Facebook implemented four months’ paid maternity leave for all employees after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg availed two months of paternity leave in 2015 for her daughter’s birth.

The policy that began from January 1, 2016, for all new parents regardless of gender or location, allows employees to take leave at any point up to a year after the birth of their child.

Khuner said that during her four months’ maternity leave, she envisioned caring for a baby alongside a full-time job but couldn’t.

In one of the replies to her, a woman wrote: “I’m getting my eggs frozen, for the sole reason to delay children, because I fear having to make this decision”.

According to COO Sheryl Sandberg, while management wanted to move in that direction at some point in the future, they couldn’t right now.

“Allowing part-time options to all parents would strain the rest of the team, she said,” wrote Khuner.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Technology companies in Silicon Valley have been rushing to extend parental leave allowances and other benefits to help recruit and retain employees.

Many high-tech workers, however, do not take advantage of such benefits for fear of falling behind at work or missing out on promotions.

Accorsing to Khuner, Facebook has solved harder problems than this.

Also Read- UAE University Breaks A Guinness World Record

“That Friday at the weekly Q&A for Facebook staff, I stood before Mark Zuckerberg, my baby sleeping on my chest, and challenged him to do better.

“Zuckerberg said he was sorry I was leaving, but echoed Sheryl,” she added.

According to her, companies like Facebook have the imagination and the resources to implement better leave and flexibility in working hours so parents don’t have to choose between their children and careers. (IANS)

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The European Union Warns Facebook Over Consumer’s Data Usage

Facebook said it has already updated its terms of service in May to incorporate changes recommended at that point by EU authorities.

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Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration. VOA

The European Union’s consumer protection chief said Thursday she’s growing impatient with Facebook’s efforts to improve transparency with users about their data, warning it could face sanctions for not complying.

EU Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova turned up the pressure on the social media giant, saying she wants the company to update its terms of service and expects to see its proposed changes by mid-October so they can take effect in December.

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European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova attends an interview with Reuters at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. VOA

“I will not hide that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook almost two years and I really want to see, not the progress — it’s not enough for me — but I want to see the results,” Jourova said.

The EU wants Facebook to give users more information about how their data is used and how it works with third party makers of apps, games and quizzes.

“If we do not see the progress the sanctions will have to come,” she said. She didn’t specify punishment, saying they would be applied by individual countries. “I was quite clear we cannot negotiate forever, we just want to see the result.”

The EU has been pressing the U.S. tech company to look at what changes it needs to make to better protect consumers and this year Facebook has had to adapt to new EU data protection rules. The concerns took on greater urgency after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal erupted, in which data on 87 million Facebook users was allegedly improperly harvested.

Jourova said she hopes Facebook will take more responsibility for its nearly 380 million European users.

“We want Facebook to be absolutely clear to its users about how their service operates and makes money,” she said.

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An advertisement in The New York Times is displayed on Sunday, March 25, 2018, in New York. Facebook’s CEO apologized for the Cambridge Analytica scandal with ads in multiple U.S. and British newspapers. VOA

Facebook said it has already updated its terms of service in May to incorporate changes recommended at that point by EU authorities.

The company said it “will continue our close cooperation to understand any further concerns and make appropriate updates.”

Jourova also said U.S.-based property rental site Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers.

Airbnb has promised to be fully transparent by either including extra fees in the total price for a booking quoted on its website or notifying users that they might apply, she said.

 

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U.S.-based property rental site Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers. Flickr

The company is complying with EU demands spurred by concerns that consumers could be confused by its complicated pricing structure, which could add unexpected costs such as cleaning charges at the end of a holiday.

Airbnb is also changing its terms of service to make it clear that travelers can sue their host if they suffer personal harm or other damages. That’s in response to complaints that its booking system can leave tourists stranded if the rental is canceled when all other arrangements have been already made.

Also Read: EU Regulators Question Online Retailer Amazon’s Data Usage

Airbnb said “guests have always been aware of all fees, including service charges and taxes, before booking listings,” and will work with authorities to make it even clearer. (VOA)