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Facebook temporarily removes post accusing it of having a ‘black people problem’

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Former Facebook employee Mark Luckie has raised concerns about how the company treats black users and employees. 

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Facebook temporarily pulled down a post by a former employee who accused the tech firm of having “a black people problem,” a removal that didn’t escape the attention of its author.

Mark Luckie, who left his job as Facebook’s strategic partner manager for global influencers, posted his note publicly on Nov. 27. The post accused Facebook of “failing its black employees and black users” and noted that many black users think “their content is more likely to be taken down on the platform than any other group.” While mostly anecdotal, Luckie wrote that posts by black users have been flagged for hate speech. 

On Tuesday, Luckie tweeted the social media giant had proved his point by temporarily removing his critical post about Facebook’s treatment of black users. “Turns out Facebook took down my post challenging discrimination at the company, disabling users’ ability to share or read it,” Luckie tweeted. “Further proves my point.” 

Facebook, which has been criticized in the past for what content it leaves up or pulls down, confirmed that Luckie’s post had been restored. 

“Mark Luckie’s post does not violate our Community Standards and is now available on our site. It was temporarily blocked due to an error in our systems that helps keep spam off of Facebook. This issue was not specific to Mark’s post and has now been resolved. We apologize for any inconvenience,” Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison said in a statement on Thursday night. 

In the post, Luckie alleges that black employees face racial discrimination within Facebook and their complaints to HR aren’t taken seriously enough. Managers called black employees “hostile” or “aggressive” for sharing their thoughts, dissuaded them from an internal black employee group, he wrote in the note. He also alleges that black employees were “aggressively accosted” by security guards and colleagues would sometimes “hold their wallet or shove their hands down their pocket” when he tried to pass by. 

The company said in response that it wants to support employees when concerns are raised and that Facebook is “going to keep doing all we can to be a truly inclusive company.”

Facebook has faced diversity issues before. In 2016, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg scolded employees for crossing out the phrase “Black Lives Matter” and replacing it with “all lives matter”

Silicon Valley tech firms, including Facebook, have struggled to diversify a workforce that is mainly made up of white and Asian men. In July, Facebook reported that about 4 percent of its US workforce was black, up from 2 percent in 2014.

Originally published on Dec. 4 at 3:24 p.m. PT.
Update, Dec. 7 at 10:59 a.m. PT: Includes explanation from Facebook.

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