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Facebook accused of 'empowering' a racist company culture

Mariella Moon
Associate Editor

Almost a year ago, former Facebook manager Mark Luckie accused the social network of "failing its black employees and its black users." According to a group of black, Latinx and female Asian employees, not much has changed since then. An anonymous post on Medium from an account named "FB Blind" is accusing Facebook of empowering racism against its employees of color. The post includes several discriminatory incidents experienced by the group and even screenshots of the internal Blind app, which allows the company's personnel to post anonymously, showing the kind of abuse employees of color are routinely subjected to.

In one instance, the employee said their manager tried to persuade two colleagues to give them negative feedback on their performance review. The colleagues refused and reported the manager to HR, but HR did nothing. One program manager was even asked by two white employees to clean up their mess after eating breakfast.

Another person sharing their experience said they gave their opinion on a topic they were an expert on during a meeting. They were reprimanded for doing so and were told they were being disrespectful and arrogant. In one post on Blind, the poster said their friend just made manager, and they were making sure that an "arrogant black man who thinks he's smarter than everyone" gets "managed out ASAP."

The group said they chose to talk about their experiences anonymously, because Facebook creates a hostile culture where anyone who's non-white is made to fear for their job and safety. They also said that if their post gets any attention -- and it did -- the company's M team, its group of trusted leaders, will merely say something to the effect of: "we view diversity as important," "this behavior is not acceptable" and "we will increase our efforts to make things better." However, they believe the cycle of racism will just repeat.

Facebook has issued an apology after the post was published. Bertie Thomson, the company's VP of corporate communications, said in a statement: "No one at Facebook, or anywhere, should have to put up with this behavior. We are sorry. It goes against everything that we stand for as a company. We're listening and working hard to do better."