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Facebook has a 'black people problem', says former employee

PROBLEM: A former employee has called out the company for its treatment of black users and employees

A FORMER Facebook employee has said the company has a “black people problem” in an extended post on the social networking site.

Mark Luckie published a memo more than 2,500 words in length detailing his opinions on the company’s failings when it comes to black people – both customers and employees.

The memo was initially sent to all of Facebook’s staff on November 8, shortly before Luckie’s last day as an employee.

In the post, which was made public on Tuesday, he wrote: “One of the platform's most engaged demographics and an unmatched cultural trendsetter is having their community divided by the actions and inaction of the company. This loss is a direct reflection of the staffing and treatment of many of its black employees.”

Luckie, who worked at the company as a strategic partner manager for global influences, focused on underrepresented voices.

PICTURED: Mark Luckie

He said that despite African Americans being one of the platforms most engaged demographics, with 63 per cent using Facebook to communicate with family and 60 per cent using the platform to communicate with friends at least once a day, compared to 53 per cent and 54 per cent of the total population respectively, their efforts to create safe spaces on the site are being obstructed by Facebook itself.

“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,” he wrote.

Turning his attention to the internal issues of the company, Luckie wrote: “In some buildings, there are more ‘Black Lives Matter’ posters than there are actual black people.”

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”.

Luckie shared some of his personal experiences of race issues at the company.

“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. The frequency is even higher when walking through Classic campus or Building 20. 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 wrote.

Luckie added that there was often little help from HR when black staff reported incidents or sought resolution.

As well as highlighting what he called “Facebook’s black problem”, Luckie also made some recommendations for how the tech giant could improve.

Among his suggestions was for it to “implement data-driven goals to ensure partnerships, product testing, and client support is reflective of the demographics of Facebook”.

He has also called on Facebook to create more regularly-scheduled focus groups with underrepresented communities, particularly its black and Latino users who over-engage on Facebook and Instagram.

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