Facebook is struggling to attract top talent coming out of college, after a year's worth of privacy scandals.
The social network has seen its acceptance rate for full-time positions from top universities drop from 85% to between 35% to 55%, according to a Thursday evening report from CNBC, citing company recruiters. Carnegie Mellon University has the lowest acceptance rate at 35%.
Facebook's software engineer acceptance rate has taken a severe hit, according to the report, falling from 90% in late 2016 to about 50% in early 2019.
The company pushed back on the report, saying the "numbers are totally wrong" in a statement to TheWrap.
"Facebook regularly ranks high on industry lists of most attractive employers," Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison said. "For example, in the last year we were rated as #1 on Indeed's Top Rated Workplaces, #2 on LinkedIn's Top Companies, and #7 on Glassdoor's Best Places to Work. Our annual intern survey showed exceptionally strong sentiment and intent to return and we continue to see strong acceptance rates across University Recruiting."
Facebook has seen its reputation take a public beating in the last year. Several privacy issues -- including, most glaringly, the Cambridge Analytica data leak, where up to 87 million users had their profile information unwittingly grabbed the political data firm -- rocked the company. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg made several media appearances since March 2018, saying Facebook will do a better job of safeguarding user data.
Earlier this year, Zuckerberg outlined the company's new plan to "build a simpler platform that's based on privacy first." Facebook, at its annual developer conference earlier this month, unveiled a new app redesign based on its pivot to privacy.
Despite its apparent issues convincing graduates from Ivy League schools and other universities to come aboard, Facebook was still adding employees at a record clip by the end of 2018. Convincing grads to join Facebook isn't as easy as it once was, though, according to one recently-departed recruiter that spoke to CNBC.
"Usually half of the close is done for recruiters with the brand Facebook has," the recruiter said. "This is the first time a lot of our folks have had to be on top of their game to make sure top candidates don't slip through the cracks."