In the wake of the Facebook Papers, people across tech are wondering: Why aren't ex-employees speaking up about the revelations coming out about their former company? In short: NDAs and fear, according to one former Facebook employee.
That former employee, Samidh Chakrabarti, who until about six weeks ago helped lead the civic integrity team at Facebook, sounded off in a Twitter thread about the reasons others like him may not be so vocal right now, as the company takes heat from all sides on everything from inaction on serious issues, allegedly stealing ideas from other apps, to a persistent engineering hiring crisis.
According to Chakrabarti, people aren't talking for two reasons, the first being that many of them have signed non-disparagement exit agreements that effectively muzzle them. Chakrabarti included a screenshot of the agreement in question, pointing out that he was "offered a ton of $ to sign, yet refused," because he wanted to preserve his voice.
The other reason former Facebookers aren't talking? The social stigma that surrounds speaking up. "If you've spent years at the company, many of your friends are your coworkers. They now become afraid to talk to you. They ignore you at coffee shops. Even when they agree with you, they can feel betrayed and don't want to risk association w/ you. Your social circle collapses," wrote Chakrabarti on Twitter.
NDAs have traditionally been a controversial part of work agreements both in tech and beyond. That controversy came to a head in August when legislation passed in California that would bar companies from requiring workers to sign non-disclosure agreements preventing those workers from speaking up about illegal discrimination and harassment. Most of the tech giants have so far stayed silent on the Silenced No More Act, with companies including Facebook withholding comment on the law when it was first introduced.