Former Staffer Calls Out Facebook's 'Black People Problem'
Free Book Preview: Unstoppable
Facebook is failing to stop discrimination against black employees and black users, an ex-staffer claims.
"Facebook has a black people problem," says Mark Luckie, a former Facebook strategic partner manager, who resigned earlier this month.
On Tuesday, Luckie, who is black, went public with his criticisms by posting the internal memo he sent to Facebook staffers before he left. His memo calls out the social network for mistakenly taking down posts by black users speaking out against racism and offering little recourse. He also claims that "racial discrimination at Facebook is real."
"I've heard far too 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," Luckie added.
Luckie was employed at Facebook for over year, and said that a few black staffers were even dissuaded by their managers from doing "Black stuff." Meanwhile, many other black employees can recount stories of "being aggressively accosted" by Facebook's own campus security, he said.
Nearly every week while I was at Facebook, I had one or more black employees lamenting to me the issues I discussed, seeking advice for how to counter it. The discriminatory experience was not limited to me as anyone who has been #blackatwork can tell you.— Mark S. Luckie (@marksluckie) November 27, 2018
Another problem at Facebook is the lack of diversity, he said. Luckie pointed to the company's population of black employees, which stands at almost 4 percent and has been growing, but isn't large enough to fully reflect Facebook's black user base.
"There is often more diversity in Keynote presentations than the teams who present them," Luckie wrote. "In some buildings, there are more 'Black Lives Matter' posters than there are actual black people. Facebook can't claim that it is connecting communities if those communities aren't represented proportionately in its staffing."
In response to Luckie's memo, Facebook spokesman Anthony Harrison said, "We've been working diligently to increase the range of perspectives among those who build our products and serve the people who use them throughout the world."
"We want to fully support all employees when there are issues reported," Harrison added. "We are going to keep doing all we can to be a truly inclusive company."
Luckie is speaking out about his former employer as the tech industry has been trying to address diversity in the workplace. The biggest companies in Silicon Valley are largely staffed by white and Asian employees. And many staffers tend to lean liberal. In August, a separate Facebook employee called out the company for its "intolerant" culture against conservative ideas, and later resigned.
Meanwhile, Facebook's struggles to moderate content have faced criticism from across the globe. For instance, civil society groups in Myanmar have accused Facebook of failing to hire enough Burmese-language speaking content moderaters to stop hate speech from flooding the platform and igniting ethnic violence in the country.
Luckie's memo, however, said the "disenfranchisement of underrepresented voices" at Facebook wasn't necessarily intentional. "Certainly, these aren't the experiences of all black employees," he added. "But these issues are so widespread that they should be an ongoing cause for concern."