Published: Fri, November 30, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Luckie: 'Facebook has a black people problem'

Luckie: 'Facebook has a black people problem'

A Black former Facebook employee has aired out the social media giant's issues with engaging black users and how it treats its black employees.

Luckie's main thesis is that the myriad shortcomings of Facebook's relationship with the black community - which he notes is one of the platform's most dedicated user bases - won't be fixed until the company shows a real commitment to diversity that goes beyond filling a quota.

He also said that he had heard "far too many many stories from black employees of a colleague or manager calling them "hostile" or "aggressive" for simply sharing their thoughts in a manner not dissimilar from their non-Black team members".

The bottom line is that the statistics tell enough of a story: Facebook's community of 2.7bn users is run by a workforce where black people make up just 4% - or 1% if you're looking specifically at developer roles. "Facebook can't claim that it is connecting communities if those communities aren't represented proportionately in its staffing".

Luckie contends that black people have had trouble discussing issues among themselves, because other people are reporting these discussions as hate speech, even though the conversations often don't violate Facebook terms of service.

"To feel like an oddity at your own place of employment because of the colour of your skin while passing posters reminding you to be your authentic self feels in itself inauthentic".

Reacting to the note, Facebook representative Anthony Harrison said the organization has "been working tenaciously to expand the scope of viewpoints among the individuals who develop our products and serve the people who use them all through the world". "The growth in representation of people from more diverse groups, working in many different functions across the company, is a key driver of our ability to succeed", the statement said. "We will continue doing everything we can to be a genuinely inclusive organization".

Luckie wrote a lengthy internal memo, explaining how hard it was to be black and employed at Facebook Inc., he expected some sort of change - or at least a reply from the CEO or COO.

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The memo was sent by Luckie, who is black, on November 8 shortly before his final day at the company.

Luckie ended with ten recommendations, all of which will sound familiar to you-and are surprising only because they don't seem to be now part of the company's inclusion playbook. He started the memo with a punch: "Facebook has a black people problem".

Luckie also criticized how Facebook HR handles the concerns of its black employees, often brushing the issue off.

Another commented: 'This truly resonated with me and flooded me with emotions and sadness that I am sure that plenty of us are all too familiar with from experiencing numerous examples you provided'. At Twitter, where Luckie previously worked, 3.4 percent of workers are black, according to data through 2017.

Luckie's experiences aren't unique.

Facebook could use more friends, he said. After leaving Twitter in May 2015, he wrote a Medium post about what it was like to work at a tech firm as a black man.

"I know from being inside Facebook that Facebook doesn't take any action against the bad things that it has done unless it's held publicly accountable", Luckie told the news outlet. He also claims the company doesn't include black people in industry events or promote them on Instagram's influential Explore tab.

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