In its early days, Facebook was dominated by men, and women employees were left to fend for themselves, said Katherine Losse, an ex-Facebook employee and author of a new book about Facebook's culture.
"I don't think it was overtly hostile to women, I think it was just the type of environment where there weren't really many women there and we had to kind of fend for ourselves for our longtime in terms of being valued in the workplace," Losse said.
In Losse's new book, 'The Boy Kings: A Journey Into the Heart of the Social Network,'she reveals that Facebook's culture resembles that of a frat house. It wasn't until Sheryl Sandberg joined the Facebook team as chief operating officer that the company culture began to shift, Losse said.
"She (Sheryl Sandberg) met with me and said, 'I really care about this stuff and I really want to make some changes,' and that's what she did," Losse said.
Gender issues have haunted Facebook for sometime. The social network has been the target of criticism for its lack of diversity on the company board. However, with the appointment of Sheryl Sandberg to the board on Monday, the company seems to be taking steps to change its image.
Losse, who worked for Facebook from 2005 to 2010, started out in customer service and eventually became the person responsible for maintaining CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page. Her book is one of few that offer an intimate look at the inside culture of Facebook. Losse said even her former boss could learn a few things from reading the book.
"I think he will find it interesting. I think there is a lot in it that will resonate with him, I think there will be things that he hasn't spent a lot of time thinking about," Losse said. "But I hope the issue of women in the workplace will be something that Facebook and many companies will start talking about."