A post titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,” was shared on an internal message board at Facebook’s headquarters. According to the New York Times, more than 100 employees have joined the originator of the message, Brian Amerige, in an effort to get the social media giant to be more tolerant of their employees’ viewpoints.
“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” Amerige, who is a senior Facebook engineer, wrote. “We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”
Amerige and his acolytes have created a group called FB’ers for Political Diversity, with the goal of fostering ideological diversity within the organization. Several employees have said that the group is constructive and is a tolerant place for people to speak their mind regarding politics.
Yet there are many within the company who feel that the group is problematic. Many have said that the posts within the Facebook group were offensive to minority employees. Though several people have complained about the group’s posts, they have been told that the posts did not break company rules.
The Facebook group seems to be a rare incident of dissent within the company, which has always seemingly had a more liberal culture. The company has nearly 25,000 employees, and most of them seem devoted to their company and especially its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. However, the company has been embroiled in one controversy after another for the last two years.
After news broke of the company providing the private information of its members to Cambridge Analytica in 2016, Facebook’s shares have gone down and new member sign-up has decreased. Additionally, many conservatives have accused the social media site of bias against them, after rumors emerged of the network “stifling conservative speech by President Trump and Senator Ted Cruz.”
The company’s decision to ban Infowars founder and noted conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, fostered discord among conservatives and the company’s employees alike. As the New York Times reports, “within Facebook, people have argued over the decisions to ban certain accounts while allowing others.” Employees are becoming more vocal in their questions of what qualifies as “content the company disallows.” On the flip side, there are many who feel that Facebook is too lenient on far-right groups who often peddle hate.
The Facebook group and company discord come just before the company’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg is set to testify at a Senate hearing that will address “social media manipulation in elections.”