Facebook Study on Gender Bias 'Deeply Disturbing': Employee

And Mark Zuckerberg says gender bias at the company is 'an issue'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2017 6:19 PM CDT
Internal Data Reveals Possible Gender Bias at Facebook
Two internal analyses of Facebook data made public this week reveal female engineers at the company may be at a serious disadvantage to their male colleagues.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

An analysis of data—released internally at Facebook last September but made public by the Wall Street Journal this week—shows code written by female engineers is rejected 35% more often than code written by male engineers. They also wait 3.9% longer to get their code accepted and face 8.2% more questions and comments about it. The analysis was done by a female engineer who worked at Facebook for years. It highlights a lack of diversity within the company: Women occupy just 17% of technical roles at Facebook. The company is only 33% female overall, and only 27% of leadership positions are held by women, the Verge reports.

A Facebook spokesperson says the employee's analysis was "incomplete and inaccurate." Followup analysis by Jay Parikh, Facebook's head of infrastructure, found the discrepancy in rejected code was based on engineers' rank, not gender. This wasn't necessarily a better finding, as it shows female engineers may not be getting promoted at the rate of their male colleagues. One employee calls the new analysis "deeply disturbing." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports Facebook's head of HR complained in an internal comment that the findings are hurting the company's "recruiting brand," making it harder to hire more women. When asked about the findings, Mark Zuckerberg admitted gender bias at Facebook is "an issue." (Read more Facebook stories.)

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