Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, strongly endorsed Hillary Clinton's bid to become the first woman president of the U.S. — citing what such a historic event would mean for her children as well as the country's future.
"Tonight, I am hopeful thinking about what it means for my children to watch Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic nomination for president of the United States and for me to able to tell them #ImWithHer," she wrote in a post on Facebook Thursday evening.
Sandberg's full-throated backing of Clinton, while not surprising, comes after a recent brouhaha in which Facebook was accused of political bias in Trending Topics section to downgrade conservative-leaning stories.
In May, Gizmodo reported that "Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network's influential 'trending' news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site's users."
In response, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sandberg, and other execs met with conservative commentators to discuss the issue and the company posted an explanation of the process. Facebook also now mandates all employees to under training about identifying political bias as a standard policy.
Sandberg — one of the most powerful female execs in America and best-selling author of "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead" — has herself been subject of speculation that she might run for public office. But she has disavowed interest in a political career, along with ruling out the possibility of taking a CEO job elsewhere (addressing rumors she could be in the running to replace Disney's Bob Iger when his contract is up).
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The Facebook COO, who has two kids (a boy and a girl), recalled a question her daughter asked a few years ago after hearing a song listing all the U.S. presidents: "Mommy, how come they're all boys?"
"We are close to making my daughter's question a relic of the past," she wrote. "Watching this historic moment with my children, I am thinking about our past and their future."
But, Sandberg said, "my support for Hillary is not because she is a woman. It is because she is the most qualified candidate — and she is the leader we need."
According to Sandberg, issues facing the U.S. range from equal pay and equality in the workplace to creating opportunities for all Americans "regardless of background, gender, race, or sexual orientation."
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"We need someone who celebrates America's diversity and believes we're stronger for it," she wrote.
Sandberg called out the rise in the number of single mothers in the U.S. over the last several decades. About 40 percent of all single-mother families live in poverty, and 46 percent of those headed by black or Hispanic single mothers live below the poverty line. Sandberg is herself a single parent: Her husband — David Sandberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey — died last year from cardiac arrhythmia while on vacation in Mexico.
"Such change will not happen overnight, but it will never happen unless we have role models and leaders who make these values their own," Sandberg wrote. "History is not a movie that plays out before us; it is the result of choices we make. And this year, our choice is clear."
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