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What Employee Lock-In Means At Facebook 391

Posted by timothy
from the anytime-you-want dept.
theodp writes "In the early days of Facebook, the company would go into what CEO Mark Zuckerberg called lockdown, where no one is supposed to leave until the task at hand is done. Speaking on Saturday at Startup School 2013, CNET reports, Mark Zuckerberg remarked that the practice persists to this day. Facebook doesn't lock people in the office, but it comes "as close to that as we can legally get," Zuckerberg said to an eruption from the crowd. The lockdown isn't the first at-home-in-a-Bangladesh-garment-factory management technique Zuck's touted at Startup School. Back in 2007, Zuckerberg drew fire for advising company founders "you should only hire young people with technical expertise" if they want to be successful. And while there are no reports of Facebook hiring 9-year-old bosses yet, the LA Times reports that only young undocumented immigrants are welcome at the hackathon hosted by Zuckerberg's FWD.us next month where "tech CEO's like Mark Zuckerberg, Reid Hoffman, Drew Houston and Andrew Mason will be sitting side-by-side with undocumented youth [with technical expertise] creating tech products to help the immigration reform movement" (invitation to 'day (and night) of working')."
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What Employee Lock-In Means At Facebook

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:11AM (#45186987)

    Why are illegal immigrants being called undocumented? The are documented, by their countries of origin. The reason they are undocumented in the US is because they are here ILLEGALLY. They have no right to claim legal status when they did not go through the proper legal process. IMO, these people are brazenly flouting our immigration laws without any fear of prosecution which only encourages more illegal immigration. This has to stop.

    Illegal is illegal.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:21AM (#45187045)

      It is to obscure the fact that they are in the USA illegally. One way to win an argument is to change the terms or the definition of the terms. If the terms "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant" were to persist the anti-amnesty position would prevail. Since the the accepted term is now "undocumented immigrant" has become the term used, the pro-amnesty position will win on this issue. The actual and most dramatic losers will be the legal immigrants--those people who applied for permission to enter the USA and applied through the system to become USA citizen. (And they are typically against illegal immigration.)

      • by causality (777677) on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:10AM (#45187377)

        One way to win an argument is to change the terms or the definition of the terms.

        Nothing "won" that way ever turns out well in the end. The practice is one reason the US has so many batshit insane laws like the War on Some Drugs that don't stand up to analysis, and continues to keep these laws even after this is well known.

        The lack of rationality will have been the root cause of our downfall.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463)

        It is to obscure the fact that they are in the USA illegally.

        Partly. It is also because words have connotations beyond their direct meaning. "Illegal" tends to imply that something is also wrong or immoral. Why else would our wise and noble political leaders make it illegal? But many of us feel that a free society should welcome people that want to come and make a better life for themselves. Immigration (even when illegal) is a positive good, benefiting both America, and the families of the immigrants. The anti-Latino prejudices of today are no different than t

        • by Megane (129182) on Monday October 21, 2013 @10:28AM (#45188371) Homepage

          The anti-Latino prejudices of today are no different than the anti-Asian, anti-Jew, anti-Irish, and anti-German prejudices of the past.

          Except for, you know, that part where the Asians, Jews, Irish, Germans, etc. did their paperwork to get in. If they didn't, they weren't let in. Apparently Spanish-speaking immigrants are "more special" and don't have to immigrate properly.

        • by tompaulco (629533) on Monday October 21, 2013 @10:35AM (#45188465) Homepage Journal
          But many of us feel that a free society should welcome people that want to come and make a better life for themselves.
          I think the majority of us feel that way. Which is why we created a system by which people can immigrate to the United States. My wife did it, my grandfather did it, about a million people per year do it. So, why should we reward people who do it illegally by giving them a free pass, while punishing those who do it legally by making them do all the paperwork and pay fees?
        • by Jawnn (445279)

          It is to obscure the fact that they are in the USA illegally.

          Partly. It is also because words have connotations beyond their direct meaning. "Illegal" tends to imply that something is also wrong or immoral. Why else would our wise and noble political leaders make it illegal? But many of us feel that a free society should welcome people that want to come and make a better life for themselves.

          Agreed, and a legal avenue for such a pursuit exists for anyone wishing it. QED.

    • by nashv (1479253) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:22AM (#45187055) Homepage

      No AC , 'Undocumented' means status cannot be determined. For example, family moved here illegaly but baby is born within US borders in a shack without a birth certificate. The baby is then 'undocumented'.

      Naturalised US citizen who lost passport, then became homeless and ended up the other side of the country with amnesia = Undocumented.

      There is a difference. Unless, any immigration is proved in court to be illegal, it is undocumented. Innocent until proven guilty, remember?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:39AM (#45187167)

        I might be wrong, but I suspect the vast majority of the people called "undocumented" in the mass media were not "born without a birth certificate" or "lost their passport".

      • I could agree with your terminology for the word 'Undocumented' (and there are more reasons for that), but that is not the point for this article. It seems that the article is mentioning the majority -- those who immigrated into the country (may be legal at first) and now are illegal (most likely by intention). To me, the intention of the word used in the article is to attempt to avoid discrimination but it raises other questions. The GP post shows that the word used is less aggressive, underrated, and sor

      • For example, family moved here illegaly but baby is born within US borders in a shack without a birth certificate. The baby is then 'undocumented'.

        And then the baby is not an immigrant, so the term "undocumented immigrant" doesn't apply.

        Naturalised US citizen who lost passport, then became homeless and ended up the other side of the country with amnesia = Undocumented.

        That happens so frequently that the number of such people is far greater than the number of people who knowingly come to the US illegally.

        Unless, any immigration is proved in court to be illegal, it is undocumented. Innocent until proven guilty, remember?

        You're being silly. This is not a court. If you prefer we can use the term "alleged illegal immigrant".

    • Laws can't work without the support of the general population (re: drug war). The question is, why is it illegal to wander across the face of the planet if it takes my fancy and make an honest attempt to pay taxes and abide by the local laws? Think about it, did the Mongols ask Marco Polo for his passport or did they proudly show him a nifty navigation device called a "compass" to help him on his journey?
      • I assure you the Mongols under the khans would have dealt with Marco quite harshly if they hadn't wanted him around. Should we adopt a similar policy? Personally I'm the soft-hearted kind that prefers deportation to execution.

    • by tgd (2822)

      Why are illegal immigrants being called undocumented? The are documented, by their countries of origin. The reason they are undocumented in the US is because they are here ILLEGALLY. They have no right to claim legal status when they did not go through the proper legal process. IMO, these people are brazenly flouting our immigration laws without any fear of prosecution which only encourages more illegal immigration. This has to stop.

      Illegal is illegal.

      Not in the US. Illegal is only applied when there isn't an upside for those assigning the labels not doing so. Illegal war? Nope, those are opportunities to increase employment across a suite of contractor companies! Illegal immigrants? No! They're undocumented workers! (With legal family members who can vote!) Or maybe they're migrant workers! (Everyone likes inexpensive strawberries, after all!) Illegal financial transactions at megabanks? No! They're financial irregularies that will be investigated, afte

    • by dbIII (701233) on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:25AM (#45187555)
      So? Already in the place is already in the place. Nobody is going to send them all elsewhere especially since so many of those who make the rules are already benefiting from a shadow economy of people that can be paid less and treated worse than a "legal" employee. Pretending otherwise is not going to make it all go away by magic and treating these people like subhumans is only making things worse, making that shadow economy even more attractive and reducing the conditions for the "legal" employees.
      The USA cannot afford to send them "home". Just getting angry about it hasn't helped for the last century+ either.
      • by dcollins (135727)

        No, no, taking inspiration from how well the "send freed slaves back to Liberia" [wikipedia.org] movement worked in the 1800's, the immigration-insane are queuing up to do something like all over again in the 21st century.

        "Of course history repeats itself. Motherfuckers don't listen."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by runeghost (2509522)
      If you're so concerned with illegality, why not focus on those corporations who directly or indirectly benefit from illegal labor (and associated working conditions)? The prime reason we have illegal immigration (instead of simple and straightforward work visas) is because the 0.1% love having a pool of labor available who don't have to be treated lawfully. I have nothing but sympathy for undocumented/illegal workers, and nothing but loathing for the corporations and the wealthy who abuse them and who use t
      • by Jiro (131519)

        You know, this is about illegal immigrants at Facebook. I believe that Facebook is, in fact, a corporation.

    • by jasper160 (2642717) on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:56AM (#45187951)
      Calling illegal immigrants undocumented workers is like a drug lord an undocumented pharmacist.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      so lets get this right - Zuckerburg et al will be doing some coding (well, I assume Zuck will be watching and 'supervising') with some "undocumented" immigrants all in one room.

      I for one would be enquiring about a reward for snitching about the whereabouts of a load of illegal immigrants to the authorities.

    • Because people in the USA are "presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law". Their presence on US soil *may* be illegal, but that has not yet been determined.

    • by rock_climbing_guy (630276) on Monday October 21, 2013 @11:00AM (#45188789) Journal

      For immigration activists to call illegal immigrants "undocumented foreign workers" would be like if marijuana legalization activists called marijuana an "undocumented plan", or if the NRA referred to assault rifles as "undocumented firearms".

      It's quite clear to me that they're pushing to destroy the working class in this country by flooding us with cheap labor and they're trying to control the language to achieve their goal.

      It's hard to believe that back in the day, Henry Ford was proud to say that people who built his company's cars could afford to buy them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:11AM (#45186989)

    Maybe you need young people, because they are stupid enough to think that spending hours for your employer is a great way to spend the precious little free time you'll have in your life. I used to think it was cool to spend 3-4 days at a demo party just hacking away. Now I would rather sleep, exercise and keep myself in good shape without worrying about crashing and trying to make up for lack of sleep.

    • Not stupid, but desperate. Getting a well-paid job isn't easy these times, you know.
      • Who''s stupid? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not stupid, but desperate. Getting a well-paid job isn't easy these times, you know.

        Well paid?

        If you consider all the hours, stress, and bullshit one has to put up with from billionaires who got real lucky, the pay in software development sucks.

        I have a relative who is an electrician for a utility. He works less annual hours but with the storm overtime and shift differentials, he pulls in over $100K (after union dues) - AND he has a pension.

        AND his job can't get off-shored.

        Sure there are some late nights freezing his ass off, but at least he's PAID for it. Oh, and at 50+, he (and everyon

      • by 0racle (667029)
        None of this is new, or specific to the current downturn. Kids out of school or otherwise without a family would work these very long hours when times were good. Zuckberg said the hire only young workers in 2007, before the current downtrun, and was working that way before he said it.

        "Young people just have simpler lives. We may not own a car. We may not have family." In the absence of those distractions, he says, you can focus on big ideologies. He added, "I only own a mattress." Later: "Simplicity in life

    • by gmack (197796) <.gmack. .at. .innerfire.net.> on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:00AM (#45187277) Homepage Journal

      Stupid managers as well. Every few years my employer retries that idea only for the bug counts to skyrocket as the hours get later. After about an 11 hour day, more time is spent fixing bugs created by overtired employees than making actual progress.

    • by gsslay (807818) on Monday October 21, 2013 @10:42AM (#45188569)

      Young people also have little in the way of life experience that allows them to differentiate between "can we do this" and "should we do this".

      Result; no qualms about implementing things on a technical basis without consideration to the social/moral consequences.

      And before you vote me down; I'm not suggesting young people are less morally or socially concerned than anyone else. Just that, plainly, they do not have as much life experience. Many issues that the likes of FB raise are not new just because the technology is. It's the same old struggle between individual rights and the demands of big companies and authorities.

      • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday October 21, 2013 @12:38PM (#45189987) Journal
        When I first graduated from college, I was lucky enough to have a coworker who had gotten over that. He worked hard and fast, and was focused during work, but as soon as 5:00 came around, he relaxed and went home.

        This was a new thing to me, because I was used to being in college where I had to stay up all night if my project/homework wasn't done. If I hadn't worked with him, I would have stayed with the 'all-nighter' attitude for a long time, because I didn't know anything better.
  • Bad summary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by barlevg (2111272) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:12AM (#45186995)
    Conflating two stories that shouldn't be conflated: the FWD.us hackathon isn't a Facebook-employee lock-in. It's (basically) a publicity stunt designed to help / help raise awareness for immigration reform. That has nothing to do with any tyrannical measures Zuckerberg is taking as CEO.
    • by pjt33 (739471)

      Sounds to me like a honeypot set up by US immigration, but maybe I'm just too cynical.

    • by andy1307 (656570)
      You're missing theodp's point.
      1. The Man's keeping you down
      2. They're going to take yer jobs
    • But Zuckerberg needs the illegals to accomplish his "come as close to [locking people in the buildings as possible]"

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:13AM (#45186997) Homepage Journal

    genuinely curious. if you have time to arrest and send people out for making remarks on twitter how come undocumented(I assume that's double speak for illegally working) immigrants can hold public meetings?

    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      how come undocumented ... immigrants can hold public meetings?

      Mostly because the First Amendment right to assembly is not restricted to US citizens [lewrockwell.com].

    • by Lithdren (605362) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:47AM (#45187207)

      Maybe because being undocumented has nothing to do with being here illegally? While its possible, its not a given, as many different situations can cause someone to become an undocumented individual who cannot prove their citizenship or right to be in the country. Lucky we're not all jerks and deport people without due cause.

    • by sjbe (173966) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:51AM (#45187235)

      I assume that's double speak for illegally working

      Undocumented means exactly what it you think the word means. It means there is no documentation available to prove the person's citizenship status. If I were to lose certain important documents, I would be undocumented and I'm a US citizen. Often immigrants who are here illegally are also undocumented but undocumented does not mean illegal and illegal does not mean undocumented.

      • Illegal == undocumented in the context of this discussion. No one engaged in this discussion is interested in deporting someone who lost his social security card.

        • Actually, I'm sure there are some who are; I was using hyperbole when I said "No one". But I haven't come across anyone like that, personally.

      • All the more reason to stop using the term "undocumented immigrant" when the issue is illegal immigrants. I know of no one opposed to helping people find their paperwork, but people who are here illegally is another story.

  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:16AM (#45187017) Homepage Journal

    and I admit to not reading the many links, but taking the article at face value (dangerous I know)
    BUT
    if all of it is true and accurate, it sounds like Mr. Z is a world-class asshole and is trying to bring back the dark days of robber barons building their wealth on the backs/lives of indentured servants...

    Yet one more reason (like you needed another really) not to use Facebook

    • Suckerberg, my bad, Zuckerberg is a world-class asshole.
    • Why do you think that Silicon valley has an entire population of wealthy and petulant .com zillionaires with schemes to build their own nominally-libertarian company towns outside of national jurisdiction?
      • by Electricity Likes Me (1098643) on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:09AM (#45187367)

        Because it's a town full of people with specializations in a growth field (so they think its as easy for anyone else as they perceived it to be), and then they became rich so now there worldviews will never be challenged, nor will they ever experience any of the issues anyone else ever does.

        As was noted in an article on the Great Depression, perspective colors everything: if you were rich and didn't lose everything, and lived in the right neighbourhood then "there were no bread lines".

  • by korbulon (2792438) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:18AM (#45187025)

    That's the true goal of these companies, and a big reason they're all so keen on H1B1.

    These big tech fucks move into a town, drive the real estate prices sky-high so you basically have to be upper management to own a place outside the "campus", and if not then you must either live well outside the critical radius and spend at least an hour commuting (good luck with your family), or opt to live within company provided housing ( http://www.sfgate.com/business/bottomline/article/Facebook-partner-to-build-Menlo-Park-housing-4860826.php [sfgate.com] ).

    But this has been done before: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_town [wikipedia.org]. Sigh. So wearisome.

    • Ah, the plan will not be complete until we can pay the workers in scrip. I'm pretty sure that ZyngaCash isn't an option, since Facebook is having togetherness issues with them. Does Facebook have a pseudo-currency they could use?
      • It seems completely within the realm of possibility to have the workers paid in FaceBucks, GoogleBooty, MicroCents, etc. within a few decades. These would probably start as in-world currency for the various gaming platforms hosted by these companies, but spread outward from there to purchase food and shelter at company-owned places.

    • by khallow (566160)

      These big tech fucks move into a town, drive the real estate prices sky-high

      Right. I bet that happens all the time. Just don't in places that attract them then.

  • tl;dr (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bradley13 (1118935) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:19AM (#45187031) Homepage

    tl;dr - if you want to be a huge success in business, you need to be an a**hole

  • Zuckerberg (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrKaos (858439) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:28AM (#45187115) Journal
    A fine example of leadership without empathy.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:29AM (#45187119) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like ZB figured out the truth about America and is acting upon it. The only way to hire people is to ensure that they have little ability to appeal to the American court system.

    • by malkavian (9512) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:39AM (#45187159) Homepage

      No idea how you managed to get a -1 for that.. It's the reason I didn't move to the US long ago (the balance between the worker and employer is screwed, and it's only become worse as time has progressed).. It does seem as though some corporates really are trying to set up an environment that is very close to indentured servitude. Natural citizens still have legal privileges that trump the desires of the corporates for cheap labour, so they want to import.
      That, really, is a crappy way to do business. It'll work in a short term, but ends up as a race to the bottom, and probable collapse far earlier than necessary (wasting a lot of long term productivity and profit).

  • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:34AM (#45187141) Journal

    If I had any interest at all in working for the latest version of MySpace.com, this might be upsetting, but I don't, so who cares?

    -jcr

    • by Lithdren (605362)

      Because when someone starts doing something that makes them a lot of money, whatever methods they are using has this really nasty tendency to spread like a disease. While this particular flavor of CEO may not be affecting you, its all together possible he's going to end up rubbing off on some other flavor of CEO who is. And if not you, someone you care about.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Because other companies will follow suit if Facebook is successful in this tactic. You're extremely naive to think that this will only ever happen at Facebook, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:41AM (#45187173)

    I think bosses prefer hiring HB-1s and illegals because it gives them something powerful to hold over the employees head. If the employee feels secure in their life, then they are more likely to challenge the employer and stand up for reasonable rights. So, "immigration reform" to these companies is a way for them to legalize slavery while importing people whose only goal is to export as much of their paycheck back to their home countries as possible.

    And seriously, employee lock-ins? Why do people put up with that crap? Is working at a social media company, which will most like be replaced by another social media company within five years, some great honor? People need to have some respect for themselves.

    • I've always had very mixed feelings about unions, and never had any desire to join one. Something like that would change my mind. If I can dream, I'd love to see Facebook shut down by a strike, with the strikers returning only if strict work rules are implemented.

  • by jbmartin6 (1232050) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:44AM (#45187189)
    There's nothing in the linked articles to suggest that these "lock-ins" are any different than what many other companies do, especially start-ups, when there is a crucial problem at hand. (To me this 'necessity' sometimes indicates poor management and planning, other times perhaps it's needed). I notice that the first Google result I found [fastcompany.com] isn't mentioned in the summary. It clarifies a bit what the lockdown means, apparently doesn't mean no one is allowed to leave the office or other such nonsense. The link to the Bangladeshi factory story appears to be an absurd comparison.
  • http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Facebook-Reviews-E40772.htm [glassdoor.com]

    according to 500 people, facebook is a nice company to work for and they all approve of zuckerberg. Thats not a lot considering facebook employs far more people than just those 500 reviewers. Facebookers: feel free to update information accordingly to we can at least attempt an objective view of this mans policies and actions as glorious leader.
  • by morgauxo (974071) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:52AM (#45187237)

    I worked for a place like that. It went out of business when all the employees got fed up, found new jobs and left.

  • The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  • So is that why he likes illegals so much? He cannot legally lock the doors, but he can send a few border patrol cops after anyone who leaves before he says they can?

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich @ a o l.com> on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:24AM (#45187527) Journal

    We have Cannonball Runs, where our developers and engineers work long days, enjoy company-provided, catered meals, and concierge services to help in their absence at home, and of course preems, which are financial incentives for accelerating the schedule.

    It's about as far from what this asshole is doing as you can get, but we get fantastic results, and the work product is very high quality. That's why I spend the money to do it. It does cost money - about $5k/day for a team of 10 people (I refuse to call them "resources").

  • Are pretty much just a bribe to Congress and Obama to let him continue to be a white slaver. DREAM act my ass.

  • When there is a neighbor openly advertising just how hard it strives to keep employees happy? I made a jump myself after concluding that the technology is interesting but there is nothing I. It for me.

  • I'm there, dude.

    Oh, wait...

  • by hypergreatthing (254983) on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:42AM (#45187761)

    Seriously. Show up at invitations to illegal aliens like this and arrest all those who are here illegally. Then fine the crap out of whoever sponsored such an event. Zuck is making money off of slave labor yet no one wants to call him out on his tactics?

  • Let each company have its own operational style that makes it work.
  • by jythie (914043) on Monday October 21, 2013 @02:37PM (#45191781)
    Most people behind tech startups that did well have very little understanding of why they succeeded while the dozens of companies just like them with equally talented people did not.... and their self image does not really allow for 'you got lucky, right time right place' so they come up with all sorts of rationalizations for why they are so much better then everyone else, when in reality... if you have 10 companies doing something and there is only room for 1 titan, chances are luck is going to be the deciding factor, not some special sauce.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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