Hide table of contents

A recruiter from Meta reached out to me and I'm conflicted on whether I should proceed. 

They have multiple teams that seem like they would provide positive impact (e.g. Integrity, Social Impact). Although, the laundry list of Facebook criticisms and the 2021 Facebook leak lead me to believe that working at any role at Meta would cause some degree of harm, depending on the team you end up working for.  

On the other side, the career capital I would gain working at a MAANG and a huge increase in my salary would increase my ETG substantially. 

Anyone have any opinions or advice? I've read 80k's article on this types of decisions, but would like to hear from others. 




New Answer
New Comment

3 Answers sorted by

Firstly, I would say that while Facebook is definitely deserving of the criticisms you've mentioned above, it's not clear to me that it's a net negative force on the world. Facebook does allow people to create, maintain or rediscover genuine human connection across time and space in a way that I think is really valuable for the world (although there might be some better alternative in the counterfactual). The general opinion of Facebook seems to suffer from some amount of negativity bias, but I've not tried to crunch any numbers to work out whether or not Facebook actually is providing more positive value than negative.

Secondly, even if Facebook is doing more harm than good overall, it seems possible that it would be easier to produce change from the inside rather than out. So if you're an altruistic-minded person and want to do good as well as advance your career, then maybe you could consider joining them and trying to influence others around you to try to make the products you work on have more positive (or less negative) value.

Thirdly, I think this decision depends a lot on your options, skills, and future plans. If you are early on in your career and want to work at MAANG so you can build career capital by having them on your CV and rapidly improve your product management skills by working on some of the most-used products in the world, then it could make sense, particularly if you are then planning on doing something particularly high-impact afterwards like becoming a founder. If, however, you could already get a decently high-impact job, eg something on  the 80k job board, and you could be really excellent at it, it seems like that could be the best way to maximise your overall career impact over the MAANG route. 

Finally, a recruiter reaching out to you is still a long way from considering whether or not to accept a job at a company, particularly at somewhere as competitive as Facebook (although maybe the recruiter was especially keen on you!). While it will have a time-cost associated with it, I think it's likely worth going through with the interview process just for the experience, and then if you get an offer you can make your decision then. You might have a better understanding of whether or not this job aligns with your aims after having had a chance to talk to the interviewers in any case.

One last thought off the back of my personal musings on this question is that for me, there is a lot of ego in my desire to work at a MAANG company. Getting a job there would make me feel like I was at the top of my field, a really talented engineer, someone my parents could finally be proud of etc etc. I then tried to rationalise this by saying it would allow me to earn to give, but there has been a lot of talk recently about EA having too much money or the fact that the biggest bottleneck in EA seems to be people not funding. Having these kinds of thoughts and feelings is totally normal but for me it was important to try to be self-aware about them and make sure I was being rational about my career choices. Also, when looking at options that have long-tail distributions for impact with some outcomes being exponentially better than others, it seems like there is a lot more scope for ambition when it comes to having an outsized personal impact on a EA-relevant product than it does to earn to give as a product manager and not eg a quant trader (or a founder and CPO!). 

This is largely advice regurgitated from 80k but hopefully I've managed to distill most of the relevant bits. Trying to get a job at FAANGULA is for the time being still one of the options I am considering, so I'd definitely be interested in chatting further about it or hearing more about how you decide to proceed.

I'm not confident in the belief that Meta as a company causes more harm than good. If you look closely at most of the criticism, it's generally overblown. 

For example, the headline of the 2021 Facebook Leak is "Instagram Harms Teenagers!" but the reality is more complicated - https://www.npr.org/2021/10/06/1043138622/facebook-instagram-teens-mental-health . Cambridge Analytica too: https://mobiledevmemo.com/cambridge-analytica-was-a-false-panic-its-time-to-move-on/

I'm more convinced of the overall harms of social media (esp. in regards to teenage mental health), but is Meta is worse than other social media companies out there like TikTok? Probably not? 

In terms of benefits to the world, they enable a lot of small businesses to exist through personalized advertising and they're pushing the field of virtual reality forward faster than it would otherwise develop.

If I had to guess, Meta's impact on the world (compared to a world without Meta) is net neutral or maybe slightly positive (/negative), instead of significant negative impact. So your impact of joining Meta as 1 of 70k+ employees is likely a few orders of magnitude lower than the impact you'd have through earning to give. 

Other factors to consider - What team would you be on? Can you get into other FAANGs? How long would you even work at Meta before you jump jobs? Is there a significant reputational risk of working at Meta, regardless of the facts? 

The traditional answer is, I think, to join but then to only work there for one year before moving on.

Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

Ah, this is the true meta trap for EAs.

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities