Facebook came under fire this week from its black and other POC employees for allegedly facilitating a company culture of racism. In a post made on Medium by an anonymous group of twelve Facebook employees, past and present, numerous incidents of systemic racial bias and discrimination were detailed.
“While eating breakfast, two white employees asked me to clean up after their mess. I am a program manager,” The anonymous poster noted. “I told my manager about the incident. She told me I need to dress more professionally.”
“I spoke at a regular team meeting and gave my opinion about a topic I am a subject matter expert on,” Another anecdote went. “I was told after the meeting by the manager that I was disrespectful for speaking at this meeting, that my opinion was not wanted, that I was being arrogant in sharing that opinion, and not to speak at any future meetings unless called upon.”
The issues described here are systemic. Co-workers, managers, and so on are all indicted by the anonymous employees who narrated several more incidents – including shared screenshots from the firm’s internal social network.
The Medium post ends with a plea for accountability, saying:
We are remaining anonymous because Facebook creates a hostile culture where anyone that is non-white is made to feel fear for their job and their safety to report any bad behaviors. There is little to no equity in terms of responsibilities, ratings, and reviews. Bad behaviors from non-POCs are elevated while normal actions from POCs are treated as aggressive, angry, and abnormal. Even positive ratings are shared with a negative, threatening tone.
If this post gets any outside attention, the response will be met by M team as “we view diversity as important”, “this behavior is not acceptable,” and “we will increase our efforts to make things better”. And then the cycle will repeat.”
In response, Bertie Thomson, Facebook vice president of corporate communications said this weekend (via CNBC); “No one at Facebook, or anywhere, should have to put up with this behaviour. We are sorry. It goes against everything that we stand for as a company. We’re listening and working hard to do better.”