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Facebook Has a ‘Black People Problem,’ Ex-Employee Writes


As Facebook defends its handling of Russian political interference, an ex-employee published another scathing critique of the company’s culture. Facebook “has a black people problem,” Mark S. Luckie wrote in a lengthy internal memo circulated earlier this month and made public on Facebook Tuesday.

In the post, Luckie, who worked as a Partnerships Manager for a year, described the ways in which the social network excludes its black users and employees.

As Facebook defends its handling of Russian political interference, an ex-employee published another scathing critique of the company’s culture. Facebook “has a black people problem,” Mark S. Luckie wrote in a lengthy internal memo circulated earlier this month and made public on Facebook Tuesday.

In the post, Luckie, who worked as a Partnerships Manager for a year, described the ways in which the social network excludes its black users and employees.

“Facebook’s disenfranchisement of black people on the platform mirrors the marginalization of its black employees,” he writes. “Racial discrimination at Facebook is real.”

"Very Lonely." Read more about being black in Silicon Valley.

Four percent of Facebook’s U.S. workforce is black, the company said in July, up from two percent in 2014. In technical roles, that drops to 1 percent. Facebook published its first workplace diversity report in 2014 alongside a post that said the company was “absolutely committed to achieving greater diversity” in its workforce and across the industry.

“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," Facebook spokesman Anthony Harrison said. "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 company’s stock has fallen 24 percent this year on concern about slowing user growth and the spread of misinformation.

In his post, Luckie said he felt like an outsider on Facebook’s campus, an experience that included racial profiling by security guards. “Many black employees can recount stories of being aggressively accosted by campus security beyond what was necessary,” he writes. “On a personal note, at least two or three times a day, every day, a colleague at MPK [Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park] will look directly at me and tap or hold their wallet or shove their hands down their pocket to clutch it tightly until I pass.”

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