Sheryl Sandberg On Fb’s Function In Small Enterprise Help And Voter Registration Throughout The Pandemic

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, spoke at Forbes’ first Small Business Summit on Friday. (Photo … [+] by Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Getty Images for Vanity Fair

With more than 180 million companies relying on their social media platforms each month, Facebook FB is playing a vital role in helping small businesses change course and connect with customers during the pandemic.

At Forbes’ first ever Small Business Summit, practically held on Friday, COO Sheryl Sandberg discussed how Facebook has “doubled” small business launches and how Congress can do more to survive the coronavirus.

Digital migration is “definitely an accelerating trend and will persist,” said Sandberg. “Businesses have already gone online, but we’ve noticed during that time that businesses are migrating much faster.”

To support this shift in recent months, Facebook launched Facebook Shops, an app that allows businesses to create online stores to sell directly to consumers, and Facebook Business Suite, a “one-stop shop, in where you can manage all your pages, profiles and your messages through Facebook, Instagram and Messenger. ”

Sandberg also said fundraisers – usually used on the social media app for nonprofits to honor users’ birthdays – are now available for small businesses.

“I never thought we would raise funds for small businesses,” she said. “But people told us that they know that small businesses are so important to their community and that they want to raise funds.”

The social media giant has donated $ 200 million of its own money to two grant programs for small and black businesses.

“We are working on getting the money out of the door as quickly as possible because there is no time to lose in such a crisis,” said Sandberg.

In addition to deciding what Facebook can do to help, Sandberg, along with former Starbucks SBUX chief Howard Schultz, and Microsoft MSFT CEO Satya Nadella, urged Congress last month to provide additional long-term financial assistance to small businesses to offer. She said a major problem that needs to be debunked is the notion that big data only helps big businesses.

“A lot of people claim that targeting doesn’t use data. [saying] Don’t let big companies use data. They don’t understand that the people who benefit from this are not just the big companies, but also small businesses that rely on that goal to grow and stay in business, ”Sandberg said. “I think this is something that we need to explain much better in order for us to have small business growth.”

While the government is blamed for doing more for small businesses, Facebook’s stake in the upcoming presidential election for Sandberg is not going to be lost. She admitted that in 2016 Facebook failed to recognize Russian interference. “We missed it and that’s up to us,” she said. “The FBI missed it. We had never seen anything like it. We were not prepared for state attacks. “

Since then, Facebook has shut down more than 50 networks spreading misinformation and, according to Sandberg, launched the largest voter registration effort ever, with the goal of getting 4 million people registered to vote on the Facebook and Instagram apps.

“This is a critical choice. We want to make sure everyone is voting and that everyone is given accurate information on how to vote. ”

The most important lesson from Sandberg’s keynote discussion: Everyone should contribute to democracy and the survival of small businesses.

“We all perform. Government is doing its part, big corporations like us are doing their part, and communities are doing their part to keep small businesses growing. We need that. “

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