Business Insider Edition

A Chinese engineer says he was fired from Facebook after discussing a colleague's death and it's caused outrage in China

Charlie Wood , Business Insider US
 Oct 12, 2019, 04:53 PM
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Getty
  • The firing of a Chinese Facebook engineer who accused the social media giant of mistreating him has provoked anger in China.
  • As first reported by Bloomberg, Yi Yin said he received an email warning on the same day he attended the memorial of a Facebook colleague who killed himself by jumping from the window of a company building.
  • Yin was dismissed on Monday having received two formal warnings - the 37-year-old has since posted on WeChat that he was forced out for "lack of judgement," and says he wasn't told which rule he had broken.
  • A thread about Yin's dismissal on Chinese discussion forum Zhihu has been viewed more than 1.6 million times, after his story was widely circulated on WeChat.
  • Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Chinese social media has erupted in anger over the dismissal of a Chinese engineer, Yi Yin, from Facebook.

California-based software engineer Yi Yin's story was circulated on WeChat and widely debated on a Chinese discussion forum, according to Bloomberg.

Per Bloomberg, Yi Yin said he received an email warning on the same day he attended the memorial of a Facebook colleague who died after jumping from the window of a company office.

Yin's colleague, an adult man whose name was not made public, jumped from the fourth floor of an office building at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters last month. The man who died was also Chinese, according to Bloomberg.

The day after the memorial - which was attended by around 400 people - Yin was called into a company meeting. At the meeting, he was told to stop speaking publicly about his colleague's suicide. The company cited privacy issues as the reason, according to Bloomberg.

After a second and "final" warning, the 37-year-old was dismissed on Monday, and has since posted on WeChat that he was forced out for "lack of judgement." Yin said this final warning didn't mention any breaches of company rules, according to the same Bloomberg piece.

Facebook has not yet commented.

A 'like' sign at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters, where an employee committed suicide last month.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A thread about Yin's dismissal on Chinese discussion forum Zhihu has been seen over 1.6 million times, after his story circulated on WeChat. Yin himself also posted about his treatment on LinkedIn last week; the post garnered over 7000 likes and nearly 800 comments.

A translated version of his post reads: "Thank you for your concern, after participating in the protest, interviewing in person and asking the company to tell the truth, I am still fine. The pressure is a little bit bigger. I got a final warning letter, and I'm going to put it up, put it in a box, and hang it on the bedroom wall. Update: Have been officially dismissed and returned to freedom."

Yin's comments about his experience with Facebook ties in with prior reports about the company's culture.

A CNBC report from January, on people's experiences of working at Facebook, paints the firm as hierarchical and averse to dissent.

One ex-Facebook employee, who left the firm in late 2018, is quoted by CNBC as saying that "even if you are f***ing miserable, you need to act like you love [Facebook]. It is not OK to act like this is not the best place to work." The piece adds that "several" former employees likened Facebook's company culture to a "cult."

Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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