May 03, 2017

Facebook rejects gender bias claims

BYPankaj Mishra

Rejecting claims that codes written by female engineers at Facebook gets rejected often, the company said that the analysis is “incomplete and inaccurate”.
The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that based on an analysis by an engineer at Facebook, it was found that codes written by females in its engineering department got rejected more often than those written by men.
“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,” TechCrunch quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying.
The spokesperson added: “Any meaningful discrepancy based on the complete data is clearly attributable not to gender but to seniority of the employee.”
The earlier analysis had claimed that female engineers received 35% more rejections of their code than male engineers.
It also stated that women had to wait longer than men to get their code accepted, and received more comments and questions than men.
The method of analysis could not be assessed nor could it be verified, even by The Wall Street Journal, which reported the gender bias in Facebook’s engineering department.
According to Facebook’s head of Infrastructure Jay Parikh, the gap in rejection rate was not due to gender, but rank.
“So, Facebook’s argument is essentially that because there are not as many women in higher-ranked engineering roles, their code is subject to more scrutiny,” TechCrunch noted.
Women, who make up 17% of Facebook’s technical department are not in higher-ranking roles and that is not a good sign.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.