Twitter Only Has 49 African-American Employees, Even Though Black People Use the Site the Most

PHOTO CREDIT: Leon Neal / Getty
PHOTO CREDIT: Leon Neal / Getty

Despite a pledge to usher in a new era of diversity and inclusion, social media giant Twitter employs just 49 Black people out of a U.S. workforce of 2,910, The Guardian reports.

That comes out to 1.7 percent of Twitter’s U.S. staff, the site notes. And the slim numbers seem even more bleak when contrasted with the user makeup of the site. According to data from the Pew Research Center gathered by The Guardian, only 21 percent of White people use Twitter. That’s compared to the 27 percent of Black people and 25 percent of Hispanic users.

It’s a fact not lost on Rev. Jesse Jackson, who called out the company for exploiting minorities to bring in more advertising revenue.

From The Guardian:

“I am very disappointed,” Jackson said. “Black people are greater users of the product and capable of doing the jobs, but there has not been an adequate commitment to hire, train and maintain [black people].

“Some people call it ‘Black Twitter’ because we over-index so much, but they still don’t hire more black people. We are becoming intolerant with these numbers, there’s a big gap between their talk and their implementation.”

Jackson said Twitter “should set a timetable to make their workforce look like the market place, and a commitment to make the board of directors more diverse.” He said that at the moment, Twitter is benefitting from black people’s love of its medium – which often leads to black issues trending worldwide – without paying enough back to the community. “They hire people they know, they trust and like,” Jackson said. “We’re not in that the circle.”

In recent months, ‘Black Twitter,’ a network of African-American Twitter users, has been the subject of studies to understand how the conglomerate of different users work to create powerful trending topics and campaigns that have subsequently changed the trajectory of news (and in some cases, police investigations). Between raising awareness about police brutality — specifically the deaths of Michael Brown Jr., Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, etc. — sustaining the Black liberation movement “Black Lives Matter,” standing in solidarity with extended communities (#BringBackOurGirls), or owning digital space with entertaining hashtags, Black users on Twitter can arguably be compared to the engine for a company that has shuttered them out of spaces inside its office walls.

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SOURCE: NewsOne, Christina Coleman

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