Facebook has a “black people problem.” That the core argument coming out of a memo by an ex-employee which slammed the social media platform for its treatment of its users and employees of African descent, Ad Age reports.
“Facebook’s disenfranchisement of black people on the platform mirrors the marginalization of its black employees,” the memo by former employee, Mark S. Luckie, stated.
“Racial discrimination at Facebook is real.”
In the memo, Luckie claims that he was racially profiled on the company’s campus. He also described fellow colleagues clinging to their wallets/purses when he was around, an apparent insinuation that they thought he was a criminal. Luckie also accuses Facebook’s HR of ignoring his complaints about the racial climate at the company’s headquarters.
“To feel like an oddity at your own place of employment because of the color of your skin while passing posters reminding you to be your authentic self feels in itself inauthentic,” he continues.
As Ad Age notes, there are statistics that support Luckie’s feelings of alienation at Facebook. Only a small percentage of its workers are African American. In July the company reported that less than 5 percent of its employees were black. In strictly technical jobs, that figure currently stands at 1 percent. A lack of racial diversity has been noted at other tech giants as well, with Google and Twitter both reporting low numbers of African-American employees.
This is the latest in a string of damning revelations that have recently come out about Facebook. The New York Times recently published an expose which alleged that the company employed a right-wing PR firm named Definers which tried to link Facebook critics to billionaire George Soros. Soros is a controversial figure in conservative circles online and has become the center of several conspiracy theories.
According to the Times, Definers was originally hired to do media monitoring for the social media company. But their business relationship evolved and Definers started taking a lead role in coordinating Facebook’s defense against criticism in the media. They placed pro-Facebook stories into blogs that were affiliated with them and sent messages to journalists with requests to investigate alleged financial ties between Soros and groups that were critical of Facebook.
Jeb Bush spokesperson Tim Miller is Definers’ West Coast lead.
Facebook has since fired Definers, the New York Times reports, after their revelatory article triggered a wave of backlash against the social network. They did not give a reason for this decision to cut ties with the PR firm.