Facebook isn’t even done fighting fake news and it’s been accused with a gender bias issue. According to a report published by The Wall Street Journal, a woman, who is a former engineer at Facebook said that code written by female engineers are often rejected more than the code written by the male engineers.
Posted internally in September, the study contains five years worth of data to show that female engineers get 35 percent more rejection for their code comparing to their male counterparts. Also, women had to wait for 3.9 percent longer for getting a review and received 8.3 percent more comments and questions. However, WSJ mentioned that it could not independently verify the results of the analysis or assess the methodology.
Alarmed by this data, the social media conducted its own study. Jay Parikh, its head of infrastructure said that the rejections had nothing to do with the employee’s gender, but with rank. The second study was conducted using Facebook’s own internal ranking system, while the woman who accused Facebook with gender bias issue used time involved in her study.
In a given statement, Facebook defended Parikh’s study, saying that the WSJ’s story relied on an analysis that is “incomplete and inaccurate.”
As we have explained, The Wall Street Journal is relying on analysis that is incomplete and inaccurate — performed by a former Facebook engineer with an incomplete data set. Any meaningful discrepancy based on the complete data is clearly attributable not to gender but to seniority of the employee. In fact, the discrepancy simply reaffirms a challenge we have previously highlighted — the current representation of senior female engineers both at Facebook and across the industry is nowhere near where it needs to be.
Both the studies seem to be potentially biased. Facebook’s judgment is essential that as there are not as many females in higher-ranked engineering roles, their code is subject to more inspection. However, the problem is only 17 percent of the social media’s tech-based employees are women, and they are not even in higher-ranking roles. So, you can easily understand why these extremely outnumbered female engineers would not want their code obtained to a higher standard than the remaining 83 percent of their male counterparts.