Facebook unveiled its biggest face-lift in years — and employees of the social network celebrated by letting their hair down at a fancy party at a luxury Bay Area hotel.
On Tuesday evening, hundreds of Facebook employees descended on the Hotel Nia in Menlo Park, California, a stone’s throw from the company’s sprawling headquarters. At the hotel, they were treated to a private party that included casino tables, massages, and a magician, Business Insider has learned.
The exclusive event was held on the first night of Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference and celebrated CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of a sweeping redesign (known internally as “FB5”) of the core Facebook app that ditches its iconic blue bar and puts groups and communities front and center.
The changes to Facebook’s aesthetic come as the company tries to move past two years of constant scandals, from Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of tens of millions of users’ data to the social network’s role in spreading hate speech that fueled genocide in Myanmar.
On stage at the conference, Zuckerberg presented a solemn image of contrition to emphasize how seriously Facebook is taking the criticisms about the company. In the after hours, however, the glitzy party revealed a celebratory atmosphere typical of Silicon Valley product launches.
The details of Tuesday’s party offer a window into how Facebook employees are letting off steam at a pivotal moment in the company’s history — and how Facebook uses glitzy events to internally reinforce changes in direction for the company.
There was branding everywhere emphasizing Facebook’s new strategy: The message “Facebook equals Communities since 2019” appeared everywhere, including on welcome signs, cakes, and casino chips. Employees were given mementos in the form of custom tracksuits — again branded with that slogan.
Inside, the entertainment on offer included complimentary massages, an old-school casino table where employees were free to gamble (using tokens, not real money), an open bar, karaoke, magic tricks, and huge platters of sushi.
Facebook is being tight-lipped about the party: When asked by Business Insider about the shindig, a spokesperson declined to comment.
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