Does Facebook have a racism problem?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is launching an internal investigation after “black lives matter” slogans around campus have been continually crossed out and replaced with “all lives matter” an internal memo acquired by Gizmodo shows.

In the message, posted on an announcement page only for employees, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that employees have been defacing “black lives matter” and writing, “all lives matter” on the company’s signature wall. He added that:

“We expect everybody to treat each other with respect. Regardless of the content or location, crossing out something means silencing speech, or that one person’s speech is more important than another’s. Facebook should be a service and a community where everyone is treated with respect.”
Facebook Signature Wall - Mary Altaffer AP - The Gentlemans Journal

(Image: Mary Altaffer/AP)

The memo also shows that Zuckerberg expressed his disappointment on the matter previously, yet it has continued to occur: “I was already very disappointed by this disrespectful behaviour before, but after my communication I now consider this malicious as well,” he continued.

Only 2% of Facebook’s employees are black, including only 1% of the company’s tech workforce. This is something that the company has attempted to rectify, appointing a director of diversity in 2013, Maxine Williams, but that hasn’t addressed the overwhelmingly white imbalance on the company’s workforce.

Earlier this month, Zuckerberg also had to rebuff comments made on Twitter about colonialism by Facebook board member Marc Andreessen. The venture capitalist was having a discussion on the social network about India blocking Facebook’s Free Basics, a plan pitched to provide free internet access in the developing world, when he said:

“Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?”

Zuckerberg wrote a post on Facebook in response to Andreessen where he said that he “found the comments deeply upsetting, and they do not represent the way Facebook or I think at all.”

The question remains though, does Facebook have a cloud of racism currently hanging over it?

Facebook has not yet responded to the leaked memo or the allegations of racism around its campus.

(Main image: Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images)

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