Facebook FB +1.09% CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked employees to stop the “malicious” behavior of crossing out ”black lives matter” slogans on the walls of the company’s Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters in an internal Facebook message that surfaced on Thursday. Facebook confirmed to FORBES that the posting was penned by Zuckerberg.
The issue appears to have been simmering internally at Facebook for some time. It burst into public view when tech blog Gizmodo published Zuckerberg’s message. In it, Zuckerberg said employees were scratching out “black lives matter” phrases and replacing them with “all lives matter” on the company’s walls.
“Despite my clear communication at Q&A last week that this was unacceptable, and messages from several other leaders from across the company, this has happened again,” Zuckerberg said in the post. “I was already very disappointed by this disrespectful behavior before, but after my communication I now consider this malicious as well.”
Zuckerberg’s post goes on to note that the black community in the U.S. continues to face issues today stemming from a history of oppression and racism. Zuckerberg also said the company has never had rules around what can be written on its walls, but that crossing out others’ writing is a form of silencing speech and is disrespectful.
“‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve.”
“This has been a deeply hurtful and tiresome experience for the black community and really the entire Facebook community, and we are now investigating the current incidents,” Zuckerberg added.
Zuckerberg’s post puts issues of racial representation and discrimination in Silicon Valley in the spotlight. Only about 2% of Facebook U.S. employees are black, and it is widely known that issues of racial representation among tech companies are pervasive.
Zuckerberg ended his post by encouraging employees to attend a Black@ town hall on March 4 to educate themselves about the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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SOURCE: Forbes – Kathleen Chaykowski