Former employee says Facebook has a “Black” problem

(Courtesy of AP News)


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.

In a full-length piece on Facebook, Mark Luckie – who served as Facebook’s Strategic Partner Manager for Global Influencers – airs out his issues with the company while also offering solutions.

“Black people are finding that their attempts to create ‘safe spaces’ on Facebook for conversation among themselves are being derailed by the platform itself,” Luckie said. “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.

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“When these rulings are upheld with little recourse, it upends the communities of color Facebook claims to be supporting,” he continued. “It decreases the likelihood that people will continue to engage at the same level on our platform. Even high-profile figures who are plagued with these issues sometimes have to wait until it’s a major press story for it to be addressed.”

Luckie, a former digital strategist, and former journalist felt that this level of exclusion also factored into the treatment of Facebook’s few black employees. He says that Black staffers frequently complained of colleagues or managers calling them aggressive or hostile for how they share their thoughts.

He said that others have claimed that they were dissuaded by managers from becoming involved in internal groups for black employees or doing “black stuff.” Others told stories of being “aggressively accosted” by campus security while Luckie himself said that a Facebook employee would clutch their wallet when walking by him.

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“Black employees are commonly told ‘I didn’t know black people worked at Facebook,’” he said. “What this translates to is the black people who invest so much time into us want their opinions to matter and they’re not seeing that reflected externally.”

Luckie told USA Today: “I wish I didn’t have to write it. I was determined to stay there and build. I had to write what all the black employees are saying and feeling, and we don’t feel empowered to speak up about.”

In a statement, Facebook spokesman Anthony Harrison said the company is working to increase its diversity.

“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,” Harrison said.

Luckie, on the other hand, was not going to wait around for Facebook to get its act together and left the company. He said the sacrifices and the slights were too much to.

“Being stationed at Facebook headquarters has required a great deal of sacrifice — being cut off from family, friends, and my now former fiancé, compromising my health and my sense of security,” he said. “I’ve done all this willingly because I strongly believe in this company and its ability to positively impact the world.

“But to continue to witness and be in the center of the systematic disenfranchisement of underrepresented voices, however unintentional, is more than I’m willing to sacrifice personally,” he continued. “I’ve lost the will and the desire to advocate on behalf of Facebook.”