Facebook: A View From The Inside
So I would like to start off by making two statements. Number one: Yes, Facebook is a company that you can actually work for. And two: No, I was not featured in the Social Network movie – I joined quite a while after those alleged events took place.
Abu Dhabi was, however, somewhere I never expected to be this time last year when I was getting ready for my first day at Facebook.
I remember my first day at Facebook, Dublin like it was yesterday. The offices in Dublin are impressive, spacious, clean and airy. It was a strange feeling that I was being initiated into a company that produced a product I was already heavily invested in; however, I was not nervous. I walked in thinking I knew all one could know about Facebook, but what I knew was merely the tip of an iceberg. Turns out that Facebook is much more than just “poking” people and uploading photos from the night before.
For my initial two weeks at the company, I was heavily trained on the ins and outs of the product, company and culture. The information seemed overwhelming at first, but slowly began to make sense as time progressed. My position as the first Arabic User Operations Analyst in Dublin meant that it was my responsibility to initiate a support system for the Arabic-language users of Facebook, which seemed like a challenge I was excited to take on. My job essentially consisted of taking care of technical issues, making sure the content on the site was appropriate, and liaising with PR to deal with any issues that arose in the Middle East.
This last part of my job became the most interesting, especially in the wake of the recent revolutions that occurred across the Middle East region. At that point in time, two key issues were factored into the equation: Freedom of speech (which Facebook heavily supports), versus offensive and illegal content (which Facebook is exceedingly committed to taking down). In all honesty, it was a very demanding time for me on both a personal and professional level, especially when my own country, Egypt, came under the spotlight. However, I was extremely proud of the impact and recognition that Facebook gained in the Middle East as a result of the work I was involved in.
In the less challenging times of the job, there were plenty of perks to enjoy. I was able to test many new and exciting products, and utilise them before anyone else, which meant that I was constantly the envy of my technology loving friends. On a social level, Facebook Dublin is full of interesting characters from all over the world working in one office, so I had no shortage of social events, many of which were organised by the company itself.
Furthermore, the fact that we had a games room, and a canteen full of culinary delights didn’t cause any qualms for me.
All in all, working at Facebook is an extremely rewarding opportunity. The company is young, hip and expanding, and as a result, the internal environment definitely reflects the external product. It’s a great way of learning about, and gaining experience in social media, which is a medium that is becoming undeniably stronger than other traditional outlets.
Although the job was sometimes a challenge – where you had to draw a balance between personal feelings and practicality – it was nonetheless an extremely rewarding experience. Now that I have left Facebook, I feel that I know so much more about the ins and outs of the product, and my personal use of the social network will never be the same again.