2 Kislev 5778 / Monday, November 20, 2017 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Letter to Sandberg    

Letter to Sandberg

You now know what it's like to lose the love of your life. You know the void. You know the pain. But now you know the full extent of the pain you bring upon others…


Dear Sheryl Sandberg,


I look at the carnage Facebook has wreaked on this world and want to cry.


We are lured into reading about the same things over and again. To argue with complete strangers about events we know little or nothing about. Instead of studying for an exam, getting enough sleep for work, or fixing our son a sandwich, we sit like zombies arguing over who should have won last year's election.


After this futile exercise, I check my watch and see how much time I wasted. I look at my to-do list and realize the next task should have been done three hours ago. My day finishes half done, and when my wife asks me to take out the garbage, I snap at her as if it's her fault I am falling behind in everything.


Is this why Facebook is estimated to cause 1 in 5 divorces? Or could it be Facebook itself? There are friends you find to invite into your orbit, and then there are those Facebook suggests for you. That's based on an algorithm your company creates.


Why is it that after I set my Facebook profile to say that I am married, the friends I am suggested to connect with are over 70% female? Why are most of them young, and single?


What are you trying to do to us? What are you trying to do to the hundreds of millions of married couples using your company's social media?


I am not here to criticize. You are my sister. Not merely because you are a fellow Jew, but because you have endured severe tragedy and heartbreak in your life.


If G-d didn't care about you, He would have simply rewarded you to your end. You would have spent the rest of your life eating fine steaks until your time was up.


But G-d didn't do that. You were given a tragedy. You lost your husband, Dave Goldberg. You were yanked out of a day-to-day existence of revenues and expenses and forced to think about things that demand you ask yourself what your true priorities are.   


Facebook is not being used for the most productive purposes. Most people come off a Facebook session feeling depressed. Tens of millions of people use Facebook for the express purpose of having sex with people they just met. This includes teenagers, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers.


As a result, children grow up in broken homes. The tears shed by the hurt caused by your efforts is enough to fill the Grand Canyon.


You wrote a book about your pain. What about the pain you cause millions on a daily basis? Does increasing bereavement benefits for those who work at Facebook make up for what you have done to so many?


That Hashem gave you a test means you are a special person with a unique mission in your life.


Mrs. Sandberg, you have the power to do something very few can do. You have a reach no head of state has ever yielded. You have the power to elevate more souls than any religious leader.


Facebook can be a conduit of learning. Billions of people can use your platform to talk about how to be nicer, more compassionate, patient, consistent, and make the sacrifices needed to be the best children, siblings, spouses, and parents they can be. It can be a conduit of holiness for the over 1 billion people who use it.


They can learn morality. They can learn prayer. They can learn to stop parading what they have, with no knowledge of who they made cry because it's something beyond their reach.


Mrs. Sandberg, you can make the world a better place in a way very few can – if anybody. You can force a change to the algorithm of Facebook to make sure that married people aren't recommended to friend members of the opposite sex. You can take the exabytes of data you have on people's daily habits, find out what are the leading Facebook behaviors that lead to divorce are, and make changes accordingly.


You can teach people to respect each other's beliefs. To realize that whether it's a Trump fan who believes in equal opportunity, or a Hillary follower who favors social justice, we are all united in wanting a better world for each other! There is so much pointless hate in this world, especially when it comes to politics – especially when it comes to political debate facilitated by Facebook.


You can turn this around. Facebook has $32 billion in cash, and half of that in yearly expenses. Even if some of these decisions cost the firm, it won't kill it. I am sure you will find ways to compensate for the financial investment these changes demand with other means of increasing revenue.


Maybe that's why Hashem chose you – if you can't pull off something like this, nobody can!


You now know what it's like to lose the love of your life. You know the void. You know the pain. I am sorry Sheryl for your tragedy. But now you know the full extent of the pain you bring upon others. Now you know what it's like for a kid to cry over his father this week he is at his mother’s, or for a husband to cry over his wife because it's 3AM and she is still at the computer.


You can turn your pain into relieving the pain of others. What a blessing for you, your family, the soul of your husband, and the entire Jewish People.


May Hashem bless you with vision, strength, and perseverance.



* * *  

Dovber Halevi develops the website www.proudlycandid.com where you can find 1,001 Reasons to Love Israel, and learn about What You Need to Succeed in Israel.

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  Excellent analysis of a huge midda k'neged midda
Mangabey7/13/2017 2:03:42 PM

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