Did Facebook COO's Davos Comments Jeopardize IPO?

Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg reiterated the themes on Sunday that the company's initial public offering will produce jobs and global change, but could those remarks cause trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission?

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg reiterated the themes on Sunday that the company’s initial public offering will produce jobs and global change, but could those remarks endanger plans to take the social network public?

The comments occurred during a CNBC-moderated debate on the final day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which the Facebook executive co-chaired. Sandberg previewed similar themes in interviews and speeches in the days leading up to the annual global confab.

Rumors are swirling that Facebook will papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as early as this Wednesday. The federal agency has strict rules regarding public stock offerings and comments made by a company during the weeks leading up to an IPO.

Sandberg is smart — an economist by trade –and she surely would have been advised by the company’s attorney’s about what was and wasn’t allowed under SEC rules prior to her remarks at Davos.

But some of the comments seem close to the line, and if that’s the case, the SEC could rule to postpone a public offering. Here’s what she said regarding the IPO and also privacy issues during the debate:

If this [IPO] 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. The new digital divide is the difference between people who have access to free internet and people whose access is closed.

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.

A video of her speaking appears at the bottom of this post. Let us know in the comments section what you think about her remarks at Davos.