Facebook Promises to Finally Add Black Member to All-White Board
After being pressed by black lawmakers, Facebook has finally committed to hiring a black person to serve on its board of directors. Currently, no people of color sit on Facebook’s board.
The commitment came during Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s visit to Capitol Hill Thursday to meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as The Hill reports.
The CBC pressed her on the company’s lack of diversity.
“We got a commitment today from Ms. Sandberg that an African American will be appointed to the board of directors in the future,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), who was in the meeting, according to The Hill.
Facebook’s all-white board consists mostly of Silicon Valley’s top players, nearly all of whom are men. On the 10-person board, only two members are women.
In essence, the board of the most powerful social media platform in the world is not far off from the room of 12 white, blond men that Apple’s diversity officer, Denise Young Smith, claimed could be “diverse.”
Currently sitting on the board are Sandberg, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, venture capitalist Mark Andreessen, businessman Erskine Bowles, Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum and PayPal co-founder—and staunch Donald Trump fanboy—Peter Thiel, Mashable reports.
Thiel’s continued presence on the board is disturbing. Like the president he supports, Thiel has openly declared war on the free press. As Sidney Fussell at Gizmodo points out, the conservative billionaire and Silicon Valley goon is apparently Zuckerberg’s “diversity” pick.
Facebook’s diversity numbers, like much of Silicon Valley’s, are paltry. Not only does the company have no board members of color, but Facebook has not a single black executive. As Quartz reports, black workers make up only 3 percent of Facebook’s total workforce—despite data that shows black people are among the heaviest users of the social media platform.
Black lawmakers also pressed Sandberg on the social media platform’s role in spreading racist messages, Mashable points out.
The company, currently valued at more than $500 billion, has come under scrutiny for its connections to Russian accounts during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Numerous outlets have reported that some ads purchased by Russian accounts stoked fear and disinformation about Black Lives Matter.
The Washington Post previously reported that weeks after Trump was elected, then-President Barack Obama personally warned Zuckerberg to take the spread of fake news and political disinformation on the social media platform seriously.
No deadline for the hire of an African American was given. Sandberg instead promised the CBC that a black board member would be brought on “in the foreseeable future.”