Former Facebook employee reveals its 'black people problem'

'In some buildings, there are more Black Lives Matter posters than there are actual black people'

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 27 November 2018 18:06 GMT
Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivers a speech during the visit of a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F in Paris
Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivers a speech during the visit of a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F in Paris (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Facebook is failing its black employees and black users, according to a former member of its senior staff.

Black people are "having their community divided by the actions and inaction of the company", according to a new post from an insider. That failing matches the treatment of black employees, claimed Mark S Luckie in a post written as he left the company.

The new revelations come as Facebook faces criticism for its business practises across the world. They were posted the same day that Mark Zuckerberg refused to be questioned by the UK parliament, and amid a growing scandal over its apparent encouraging of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, alongside other troubles.

In the post, Mr Luckie, who until recently worked as a partnerships manager at Facebook, writes that despite the fact black people are one of the most engaged demographics on the site, they are being mistreated by the way the platform works.

"Black people are finding that their attempts to create 'safe spaces' on Facebook for conversation among themselves are being derailed by the platform itself," he writes. "Non-black people are reporting what are meant to be positive efforts as hate speech, despite them often not violating Facebook’s terms of service. Their content is removed without notice. Accounts are suspended indefinitely."

In the same post, he goes on to detail a range of ways that black people are being failed by the very way the platform is set up, and are being let down by the company.

That reflects a failure to engage with black employees in a positive way, he writes. "In some buildings, there are more 'Black Lives Matter' posters than there are actual black people," he claims, and writes of the fact that black staff members are often hassled by security and viewed with suspicion by fellow employees.

Mr Luckie has also worked at Twitter and Reddit, and was asked how his experience at Facebook compared with those other technology companies.

The entire post was shared on Facebook itself, from Mr Luckie's account. He said that he had sent the note to "all of Facebook's employees around the world" earlier this month, shortly before he left the company.

"Twitter has come a long way in its recognition and partnerships with black users," he wrote on the site, pointing to the work of the Blackbirds group that looks to improve the company's approach to diversity. "Reddit was focused on its most active user bases which is not necessarily a bad thing."

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