/// Facebook COO: IPO Will Produce Jobs, World Change
The most important aspects of social networking site Facebook becoming a public company are the jobs growth and social change it represents, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of the company, told CNBC Sunday.
“If this is seen as an opportunity for jobs and for people to use their work to change the world that’s what we want to be a part of,” Sandberg said at a CNBC debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Reports on Friday suggested that Facebook is preparing to announce an initial public offering Wednesday. The listing is the most anticipated of the decade and could raise up to $100 billion for the company, founded just seven years ago by Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg.
Since then, it has gained billions of users and was credited with helping people organize the protests which became known as the Arab Spring, along with site Twitter.
“We need social networks in emerging markets and authoritarian regimes,” Alejandro Ramirez, chief executive of Cineopolis told the audience. “We saw what happened in the Arab Spring – they can empower the common citizen and become a powerful tool to liberate populations.”
Sandberg warned that even liberal Western governments are attempting to limit the power of social networks. The growth of Facebook, Twitter and file-sharing internet companies has caused alarm over potential violations of intellectual property.
“The new digital divide is the difference between people who have access to free internet and people whose access is closed,” she said.
“I believe in intellectual property, but the role that democratic governments are playing in how much freedom of expression and how much regulation there will be could potentially stop that.”
Online information site Wikipedia had a high-profile blackout earlier this month over the US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), proposed new legislation governing intellectual property in the U.S., which has since been blocked.
The need for more employment globally was one of the key themes of the 2012 Davos summit. The International Labour Organisation believes that 400 million new jobs are needed globally in the next decade to cope with the world’s growing population.“
Facebook is barely seven years old and has 3,000 employees – and it has created more than 450,000 jobs in Europe and the US,” Sandberg said.
“The best thing it can represent is the kind of growth that creates jobs.”
“New technology will sometimes take away jobs but may also grow jobs,” Sandberg added.
“The world is looking for economic growth – the kind of economic growth that feeds a billion people and that employs people all around the world.”