An era is ending at the Facebook group Meta: Sheryl Sandberg, the architect of the online network’s business model, is leaving after 14 years. What follows for the 52-year-old?

Top manager Sheryl Sandberg, who was long considered the right-hand man of founder Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook group Meta, is leaving the online giant. The 52-year-old wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday that she wanted to focus more on her charity activities in the future. The departure is planned for autumn, when their subordinate managers would then have new superiors.

Sandberg gained his first experience at Google and joined Facebook in 2008. As the person responsible for the operational business, she played a leading role in turning the online network from a relatively small player in the online business into a billion-dollar corporation. CEO Zuckerberg recognized Sandberg as the architect of Facebook’s advertising business.

Sandberg’s advertising ideas turned out to be extremely lucrative

The idea of ​​using insights into users and their interests to give advertisers access to the target groups they wanted proved to be extremely lucrative. When users switched from PCs to smartphones a decade ago, Facebook was initially unprepared with its ad banners. But Sandberg’s team quickly developed a system in which advertising was placed in the app between the individual posts.

It is “quite unlikely” that she will accept a new job in a company or in politics, Sandberg told the financial service Bloomberg. On the other hand, she learned a long time ago not to make any predictions about the future.

Women’s rights and data scandals

Sandberg also made a name for herself as an advocate for a bigger role for women in business. At the same time, critics point out that Facebook’s data scandals, such as the controversy surrounding the analysis company Cambridge Analytics, happened under Sandberg in the top floor.

In recent years there has been speculation about a cooled relationship between the 38-year-old Zuckerberg and Sandberg – which has always been rejected. Sandberg will remain on the board of directors of Meta, the group’s supervisory body.

Meta under pressure

Facebook and Meta are currently under pressure from several directions. Politicians are calling for it to be broken up, and competition watchdogs are also increasingly targeting tech giants. Apple’s measures for more data protection on the iPhone also complicate business for Facebook. A year ago, Apple enforced that app developers like Facebook must first obtain users’ explicit permission in order to be able to collect information about their behavior across different services and websites. Many users refused. However, Meta complains that this has made it more difficult to personalize the ads.

Zuckerberg on Sandberg: A «superstar»

Sandberg should not be replaced by someone with an identical job, Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. He is not sure if that would have been possible at all, since Sandberg is a “superstar”. At the same time, however, Zuckerberg also indicated dissatisfaction with the previous design of the meta-structures: The time may have come anyway to dovetail business and products better, he wrote.

Facebook has recently felt the competition from the video platform Tiktok with its short video clips. Meta is now targeting its own apps like Facebook and Instagram for similar short videos.