Facebook “has a black people problem,” according to Mark Luckie, a now-former manager of partnerships at Facebook. Luckie, whose last day at Facebook was earlier this month, just posted an internal memo he sent to his colleagues that argues Facebook is failing its black employees, as well as its black users.
At Facebook, Luckie served as strategic partner manager for global influencers focused on underrepresented voices for a little over one year. During his time there, Luckie said he “heard far too many stories from black employees of a colleague or manager calling them ‘hostile’ or ‘aggressive’ for simply sharing their thoughts in a manner not dissimilar from their non-black team members.”
Luckie went on to describe how some black employees said their managers dissuaded them from participating in the employee resource group for black employees. On top of that, “too many black employees can recount stories of being aggressively accosted by campus security beyond what was necessary.”
Regarding human resources, Luckie said the department too often protects managers rather than the people actually filing the complaints.
On the user side, Luckie describes less-than-positive experiences from black people who find “that their attempts to create ‘safe spaces’ on Facebook for conversation among themselves are being derailed by the platform itself.”
Luckie has never been one to stay silent around issues of discrimination, racism and exclusion. In 2015, Luckie wrote extensively about what it’s like to be a black employee at a tech company. At the time, he had recently left his job at Twitter, where he spent three years as a manager of journalism and news.
Moving forward, Luckie has some recommendations for Facebook. A couple of those are:
- Creating an internal system for employees to report microaggressions
- Increasing cultural competency training for operations teams
For context, Facebook is 3.5 percent black, compared to just 2 percent in 2014, and 4.9 percent Latinx, compared to 4 percent in 2014, according to the company’s most recent diversity report. White people, unsurprisingly, still make up the single largest population of employees (46.4 percent today versus 57 percent in 2014).
Luckie’s entire memo is worth reading, so be sure to check it out in full over on Facebook. I’ve reached out to Facebook and will update this story if I hear back.