Mark Luckie, a digital strategist and former journalist, says he accepted the job offer from Facebook reluctantly.
At first, he didn’t want to move to Silicon Valley from Atlanta, where he had been living, but he said his fiance was able to convince him, telling him that the job presented an opportunity to make a difference on the influential social network.
“I was really excited. Facebook is an amazing company that reaches a lot of people,” Luckie, 35, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I didn’t plan to leave.”
But as a black employee, he became disillusioned with his time at the company. After about a year at the company, he decided to quit. And before his last day in mid-November, he wrote a long memo that he sent to the company’s staff. The memo is in the news this week after Luckie made it public – on Facebook, where else.
Luckie argues that the company is “failing its black employees and its black users,” allegedly by excluding them from events and the important work that guides Facebook’s service.
Facebook, in a statement, said it is “doing all we can to be a truly inclusive company.”
Luckie, who worked as an editor at The Washington Post for about two years until 2012, notes statistics that demonstrate that black users are one of the more engaged demographics on Facebook, with more using the service to communicate with family (63 percent) and friends (60 percent) than the average population.
“Black people are driving the kind of meaningful social interactions Facebook is striving to facilitate,” he wrote.
But Luckie argues the experiences of black users on Facebook are “far from positive,” citing a report from the investigative outlet Reveal that documented instances where posts from black people have been removed as “hate speech. “
“Underrepresented groups are being systematically excluded from communication,” he wrote. “You can see this reflected in everything from the guest lists of Facebook’s external programs, the industry events the company has historically sponsored, the creators and influencers who appear in Explore tabs on Instagram, the power users who are verified on the platforms, and more.”
Luckie also spotlights the company’s low number of black employees, part of longstanding problems with the representation of minorities at tech companies.
The company announced last summer that 4 percent of its employees were black, but only 1 percent and 2 percent of its employees in technical and leadership roles were black.
The number of black workers in technical jobs at the eight largest tech companies has inched up, to 3.1 percent in 2017 from 2.5 percent in 2014, according to Bloomberg, and the issue remains central to discussions about the future of the industry.
Blacks make up just 3 percent of the employees at the top 75 companies in Silicon Valley, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
– The Washington Post