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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, video chat
LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

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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AI Couldn’t Catch NZ Attack Video Streaming: Facebook

Facebook said it was exploring how AI could help it react faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facing flak for failure to block the live broadcast of the New Zealand terrorist attack last week, Facebook on Thursday said that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools were not “perfect” to detect the horrific video.

Vowing to improve its technology, the social networking giant, however, ruled out adding a time delay to Facebook Live, similar to the broadcast delay sometimes used by TV stations.

“There are millions of Live broadcasts daily, which means a delay would not help address the problem due to the sheer number of videos,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, said in a statement.

“More importantly, given the importance of user reports, adding a delay would only further slow down videos getting reported, reviewed and first responders being alerted to provide help on the ground,” Rosen added.

Strapped with a GoPro camera to his head, the gunman broadcast graphic footage of the New Zealand shooting via Facebook Live for 17 minutes, which was later shared in millions on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

Fifty people were killed and dozens injured in the shootings at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid in Christchurch on March 15 after 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant opened indiscriminate firings.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

The circulation of the video on social media platforms attracted widespread criticism from different quarters.

In a letter to CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson asked the technology companies to brief the US Congress on March 27 regarding their response to dissemination of the video on their platforms.

Thompson also warned the technology companies that unless they do better in removing violent content, the Congress could consider policies to bar such content on social media.

Also Read- Finland Probing Nokia Phones Sending Data to China

Facebook on Thursday said it was exploring how AI could help it react faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video.

“AI has made massive progress over the years and in many areas, which has enabled us to proactively detect the vast majority of the content we remove. But it’s not perfect.

“However, this particular video did not trigger our automatic detection systems,” Rosen said, referring to the New Zealand attack video. (IANS)