Harvey Weinstein Scandal: ‘People Should Lose Their Jobs’ Over This, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Says

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, weighed in on Harvey Weinstein’s spectacular fall from grace after numerous women have come forward accusing him of sexual harassment and assault.

“The Harvey Weinstein thing is abysmal – and it’s not just his behavior, it’s the behavior of everyone around [him],” said Sandberg, speaking at an event Thursday in Washington, D.C., hosted by news site Axios.

“This should never happen. When it does happen, people should lose their jobs,” she continued. “And what he’s going through is what every person should be afraid of, so that they don’t do it.”

“And it just shouldn’t happen, full stop,” Sandberg added. “Should we be discouraged?… I think we need to be determined, because I think we can do better.”

Weinstein was fired from the Weinstein Company on Sunday, coming days after the publication of an investigative report by the New York Times revealing a long history of sexual harassment. On Tuesday, the New Yorker published a story in which several women alleged Weinstein had harassed or sexually assaulted them.

The board of the Weinstein Company was notified in 2015 of payments to settle sexual-harassment claims against Harvey Weinstein, the New York Times reported. The board previously had said in a statement it was unaware of any such payments.

Most of the 40-minute discussion with Sandberg, who was interviewed by Axios executive editor Mike Allen, concerned Facebook’s role in the 2016 U.S. president election. The social company has identified about 3,000 ads, purchased by an entity affiliated with the Russian government, seemingly designed to influence American voters.

Sandberg, who met with congressional leaders on Wednesday, reiterated that Facebook is “fully cooperating” with investigators and she agreed that all 3,000 Russian-linked ads should be released publicly. What’s important is for Congress to “get the whole picture and explain that to the American public,” she said.

Sandberg dodged Allen’s questions about whether there was overlap between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian-bought ads.

“When the ads get released, we will also be releasing the targeting for those ads,” she said. “We will be fully transparent.”

Sandberg added that Facebook is committed to free speech, and that if the ads in question had been purchased by a “legitimate” entity, the company would have permitted them to run.

Facebook is hiring additional staff to provide more oversight of content and ads that run on its platform, Sandberg noted. The company now has a little over 20,000 employees, and Facebook has said it plans to hire an additional 3,000 content reviewers and 1,000 advertising reviewers.

Sandberg insisted that Facebook does not exactly fit the definition of a “media company.”

“We’re very different from a media company,” she said. “We are a technology company in our heart, we hire engineers… but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility for what goes on our platform.”

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