Former Employee Recalls Facebook’s Wild Early Days

By Justin Lafferty 

While Facebook may be a professional, corporate company now, it felt more like a frat house when it was just getting off the ground. A former Facebook employee shared with The Wall Street Journal her crazy experiences being one of the first women to work for Mark Zuckerberg.

One of the first things that Katherine Losse noticed when she walked into Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2005 was that only one other woman worked in the office. Walls were decorated graffiti-style, with paintings of scantily clad women drawn with video game character-like proportions. Losse wrote to the Journal that the entire place seemed more like a frat house, and with a group of recent college grads leading the way, what else could she expect?

She also wrote about how there was a master password to access any Facebook account:

A Stanford grad introduced me and another newbie to the janky application through which users’ emails to Facebook flowed. Once we learned how the software worked, he taught us, without batting an eye, the master password, with which we could log in as any Facebook user and gain access to all messages and data. “You can’t write it down,” he said, and so we committed it to memory.

I briefly experienced stunned disbelief: They just hand over the password with no background check to make sure that I am not a crazed stalker?

There were also drunken parties at Lake Tahoe with Facebook employees, most of whom were men. With all of that testosterone throughout the building, Losse felt out of place at times:

For example, one of the senior managers had been known to proposition women in the company for threesomes. I also had an issue with an engineer who behaved, by turns, dismissively or aggressively toward female product managers.

Readers: Were you surprised to hear about what Facebook was like in its early goings?

Image courtesy of Facebook.