Former Facebook employees reportedly say the corporate culture is like a cult where you have to be happy all the time

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  • Former Facebook employees say they felt pressure to remain positive and were discouraged from speaking up while working for the social media giant, according to a CNBC report on Tuesday.
  • Some even characterized the internal culture at Facebook as "cult-like."
  • The former employees put much of the blame on Facebook's bi-annual peer review system, where employees are "stack ranked" and assigned a grade by management.

Former Facebook employees reportedly say they felt pressure to remain positive and were discouraged from speaking up while working for the social media giant, according to a CNBC report on Tuesday.

Some even characterized the internal culture at Facebook as "cult-like," according to the report.

"There's a real culture of 'Even if you are f---ing miserable, you need to act like you love this place,'" one former employee who left in October told CNBC. "It is not OK to act like this is not the best place to work."

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg's new year's resolution is to host public debates about the impact of tech on society

The former employees put much of the blame on Facebook's bi-annual peer review system, in which each employee was typically given feedback by five of their colleagues.

The system made employees feel the need to participate in after-hours social events, grab daily lunches with teammates, and remain a positive advocate for the company in order remain in good standing with colleagues, according to the report.

"It's a little bit of a popularity contest," one of the former employees said. "You can cherry-pick the people who like you - maybe throw in one bad apple to equalize it."

Once peer feedback is collected, employees are "stack ranked" and assigned a grade by management. Only a certain percentage of employees can receive each grade, so managers must advocate for their direct reports to receive the highest honors, according to the report.

"There's a saying at Facebook that once you have one bad half, you're destined for bad halves the rest of your time there. That stigma will follow you," one former manager told CNBC.

The "stack rank" system was introduced by management-guru and General Electric CEO Jack Welch in the 1990s and adopted by Microsoft until 2013 when the company stopped the practice amid a declining employee morale.

Read the full CNBC report here.

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