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Facebook Employees Come Together to Take On Its ‘Intolerant’ Political Culture

Facebook Employees Come Together to Take On Its ‘Intolerant’ Political Culture

“We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack—often in mobs—anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zCDvOsdL9Q

Over 100 Facebook employees have spoken out against the social media giant’s “intolerant” political culture after one of them posted about the problem on the company’s internal message board.

Senior Facebook engineer Brian Amerige posted a two-page memo titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,” which claims that employees “are quick to attack—often in mobs—anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”

The New York Times reported that memo led to the formation of an online group:

Since the post went up, more than 100 Facebook employees have joined Mr. Amerige to form an online group called FB’ers for Political Diversity, according to two people who viewed the group’s page and who were not authorized to speak publicly. The aim of the initiative, according to Mr. Amerige’s memo, is to create a space for ideological diversity within the company.

The new group has upset other Facebook employees, who said its online posts were offensive to minorities. One engineer, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, said several people had lodged complaints with their managers about FB’ers for Political Diversity and were told that it had not broken any company rules.

Another employee said the group appeared to be constructive and inclusive of different political viewpoints. Mr. Amerige did not respond to requests for comment.

Amerige in his post said that the attacks happen so often that people have grown afraid to voice disagreements when it comes to politics. They know that there’s a strong possibility that they’ll be attacked personally instead of their ideas. He provides examples:

These are not fears without cause. Because we tear down posters welcoming Trump supporters. We regularly propose removing Thiel from our board because he supported Trump. We’re quick to suggest firing people who turn out to be misunderstood, and even quicker to conclude our colleagues are bigots. We have made “All Lives Matter” a fireable offense. We put Palmer Luckey through a witch hunt because he paid for anti-Hillary ads. We write each other ad-hoc feedback in the PSC tool for having “offensive” ideas. We ask HR to investigate those who dare to criticize Islam’s human rights record for creating a “non inclusive environment.” And they called me a transphobe when I called out our corporate art for being politically radical.

Thiel is Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and founder of Clarium Capital, a supporter of Trump. He sued Gawker after the publication outed him as a gay man back in 2007. Palmer Luckey founded Oculus, which makes the “virtual reality goggles that Facebook acquired.”

Amerige also noted that the company deserves the criticism it has received from Congress and President Donald Trump because Facebook is “blind to and dismissive of what people beyond our walls (let alone even within our walls) think about complex issues that matter. Facebook has employed Amerige for 6.5 years, but he says the situation has become worse in the last two years.

The New York Times backed up Amerige’s claim about the last two years:

But over the past two years, Facebook has undergone a series of crises, including the spread of misinformation by Russians on its platform and the mishandling of users’ data. Facebook has also been accused of stifling conservative speech by President Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, among others. This month, the social network barred the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a move that critics seized on as further evidence that the company harbors an anti-conservative bias.

Within Facebook, several employees said, people have argued over the decisions to ban certain accounts while allowing others. At staff meetings, they said, some workers have repeatedly asked for more guidance on what content the company disallows, and why. Others have said Facebook, out of fear of being seen as biased, has let too many right-wing groups flourish on the site.

Don’t forget what happened at Google after engineer James Damore published a ten-page memo at the company that addressed its diversity and explained the achievement gap between men and women in tech. Everyone flipped out, claimed Damore hated women and people of color, and held anti-diversity views. Professor Jacobson provided the calm the debate needed when he noted that Damore “does not question diversity as a goal, but does question the explanations given as to why it is not being achieved in High Tech.” Others on Twitter said that when Google fired Damore it proved his point.

This is scary and I cannot imagine working at a place where I cannot speak my mind. Never once at Breitbart or here at LI have I worried about voicing my opinions or disagreeing with something a co-worker says. When that happened it always turned into a friendly debate. We never attack each other’s character or hurl insults.

More voices, not less.

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Comments

The new group has upset other Facebook employees, who said its online posts were offensive to minorities.

Thus proving its very point.

    Bucky Barkingham in reply to Milhouse. | August 29, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Also employees who claim to champion diversity complained to managers about FB’ers for Political Diversity for being politically diverse, again proving the point. Let’s hope that Amerige doesn’t suffer any corporate retaliation.

    But are the minorities themselves complaining? Reminds me of major league football where the majority of complaints about team names, e.g., the Redskins, come from whites who presume some responsibility / authority to complain on behalf of indians.

    How many racial complaints would there be if every complaint were subject to a test of “standing”.

      thalesofmiletus in reply to MrE. | August 29, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      Average salary at FB is $120K/year. I know more than a few people who’d gladly endure any number of nano-aggressions for that.

      buckeyeminuteman in reply to MrE. | August 29, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      The disappearance of Chief Wahoo infuriates me. With teams like the Redskins and Indians, why don’t Native tribes design and propose new logos that the team can choose? That way they don’t “offend” anybody and the teams still showcase Native culture and heritage. Who am I kidding. Some women’s studies major that spends her afternoons and all her money at Starbucks would still be offended.

    Hardware engineers tend to be conservative or libertarian (the old small government type).

    Why? Because reality is unforgiving. 1 ns per foot. It is the law.

    The laws of thermodynamics.

    1. You can’t win
    2. You can’t break even
    3. You can’t get out of the game

    A person with a 70 IQ will not do well as a commercial pilot.

      MajorWood in reply to MSimon. | August 29, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      I have taught my son that there are only laws of physics. The rest are suggestions. Public trash containers in downtown Boston used to have posters which stated “The pedestrian always loses.” That is sage wisdom. I don’t go into the crosswalk until I have established eye contact with the approaching vehicle and it is actually slowing down.

      The reason that I don’t do anything with “virtual modes” is that dissociating from reality opens the door to bad things happening. When Cascadia hits, it will be less kind to those who have been on the .gov teat for a long time. My guess is that most of those who suffered after katrina were not what we’d call productive types before the event.

        Ohio Historian in reply to MajorWood. | August 29, 2018 at 5:29 pm

        Even some of those laws have been overturned by other “laws”. Laws are actually “theories” in physics. Laws passed by Congress are merely suggestions to lieberals.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | August 29, 2018 at 11:11 am

We will survive WITHOUT Facebook.

    The day the narcissistic geek who stole his friend’s idea to build a virtual slam-book to get revenge against coeds who wouldn’t give him the time of day looses the ability to determine how people should socialize online will be one of the greatest days ever.

This is scary and I cannot imagine working at a place where I cannot speak my mind. Never once at Breitbart or here at LI have I worried about voicing my opinions or disagreeing with something a co-worker says. When that happened it always turned into a friendly debate. We never attack each other’s character or hurl insults.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for this comment space. It used to be like that until the Trump campaign brought in some very nasty people.

Another Voice | August 29, 2018 at 11:43 am

To Survive takes CHANGE
This is an alternative to make that happen.

https://mewe.com/

MeWe shares these points of what they will give participants:

It’s your show. Share your world online your way, by your rules
You own your content. You control your interactions. You design your level of privacy.

MeWe is where you can be authentic and uncensored, the way you are in your real life.

MeWe challenges the status quo by making privacy the foundation of online social experiences.

MeWe keeps your information free from tracking, spying, and scraping.

Share content only with those you wish to see it. It’s your online life, with privacy, safety, and simplicity.

    Another Voice in reply to Another Voice. | August 29, 2018 at 11:49 am

    Addendum:
    MeWe offers you the alternative by their privacy polices;

    You own your personal information & content. It is explicitly not ours.
    You will never receive a targeted advertisement or 3rd party content based on what you do or say online. We think that’s creepy.
    You see every post in timeline order from your friends, family & groups. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your content or what you see.
    Permissions & privacy are your rights. You control them.
    You control who can access your content.
    You control what, if anything, others can see in member searches.
    Your privacy means we do not share your personal information with anyone.
    Your emojis are for you and your friends. We do not monitor or mine your data.
    Your face is your business. We do not use facial recognition technology.
    You have the right to delete your account and take your content with you at any time.

    iconotastic in reply to Another Voice. | August 29, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Very interesting. Thank you for posting this link.

    For others who didn’t click, this social media service intends to make money selling upgrade services (extra storage, secure messaging, and a slack-like competitor) which seems reasonable.

    Not a Twitter competitor but definitely a Facebook competitor.

    I’m moving to mewe.com soon. I predict that FB will go the way of ‘My Space’ in about 2 years, and will devolve into a ‘garage sale’ want ad section of the internet.

    Good riddance.

    gospace in reply to Another Voice. | August 29, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    I have a mewe account, but will keep posting in facebook and keep my account there until the move to mewe reaches critical mass.

      gospace in reply to gospace. | August 29, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Oh, then there’s twitter. I only know what Trump posts on twitter from news reports. Although I check threadreaderapp daily for a feew twitter posters.

      My youngest (age 19) checks facebook to see what us old people are up to. He and his friends use instagram, snapchat, and group messaging on their cell phones.

I’m surprised Facebook didn’t pull a “Damore” and quickly show Amerige the door.
But, since others at Facebook are backing him up maybe it means that people are are tired of the PC bullies that have taken over the corporate world…

    iconotastic in reply to HamiltonNJ. | August 29, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    By taking one step back from voicing politically incorrect opinions (or even asking politically incorrect questions) Amerige and his brave cohort avoided even the appearance of political incorrectness. After all, who can be opposed to diversity?

    What will happen is someone will post something that transgresses the ever-changing boundaries of political correctness and the Facebook mob will strike.

buckeyeminuteman | August 29, 2018 at 12:40 pm

You might be cool. But you’ll never be billionaire-in-a-booster-seat-answering-to-Congress cool.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2018/04/11/internet-roasts-zuckerberg-over-booster-seat/506254002/

“employees “are quick to attack—often in mobs—anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”

That’s just standard leftist behavior. Are they really only just noticing this?

    Old Patzer in reply to irv. | August 29, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    This is exactly right. Facebook is much like every other organization today: you have an active minority of SJW types defining disagreement as “hate” and browbeating their colleagues into acquiescence. The management and employees are largely apolitical and will follow the path of least resistance. At the day-to-day level, it is mostly just background noise. There are BLM posters in the conference rooms, but most will see them just as “nice” statements that we are not racists here. There is absolutely no upside in sticking your neck out.

      MajorWood in reply to Old Patzer. | August 29, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      I wonder if facebook is like Portland where we have way more BLM yard placards than actual black people. And very few of the BLM placards are in the neighborhoods where actual black people live / have recently been displaced to by economic gentrification.

    n.n in reply to irv. | August 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    To be fair, they are at work for 8 hours on weekdays, and the rest of the time is sweetened with the proceeds of asset inflation (e.g. monopoly conditions derived from incestuous relationships including journolism). So, go along to get along. At least until the cognitive dissonance (e.g. tell-tale hearts or Pro-Choice two choice too late, migrant trail of tears, immigration reform in lieu emigration reform, environmentalism – outsourcing and obfuscation, “=” or political congruence not equal) becomes intolerable.

Diversity does not mean what people were lead to believe it means. Diversity denies individual dignity. It is a doctrine of color judgments not limited to racism, sexism, and political congruence (“=”). And, yeah, there has been tremendous progress (i.e. monotonic change). #PrinciplesMatter

The question is if it is the market (i.e. people, resources) or “super delegates” that determine direction and outcomes.

FB moderation is incredibly cowardly, much like what the Prof here experienced with Amazon. No right to confront your accusor, no right to appeal, anonymous moderators who suffer no consequence for abusing their authority.

I quit FB after my “2nd strike”, a one week suspension. A group of Hillary supporters had been sliming me with the usual “racist sexist homophobe” ad hom. Apparently, responding that “you people are just as corrupt as Hillary” was a bridge too far for the mods.

No human to complain to, no way to appeal. I realized that after my suspension was up, I would be operating under a spectre of a 3rd Strike Total Ban. I had no desire to continually self-censor myself to avoid the whimsy of SJW employees, so I quit on my own terms.

If FB requests my diverse opinions to avoid becoming a blind echo chamber, I’ll gladly come back. For $5,000 a month.

I never understood FaceBook at all. So far as I could see it was something for people who want to waste time at their computers but haven’t figured out how to write web pages, set up sites, or run fora software of their own. And now the only thing I want to know about it is, who is that mildly cadaverous-looking woman behind Zukerberg’s left shoulder in the photo—the one who looks like she really really wishes she was somewhere else?

We’re boomers and have never been users of FB or mySpace for that metter. Never saw its utility. But I am annoyed at blogs with do their commentary requiring FB.

    Ohio Historian in reply to 02sbxstr. | August 29, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    These comments and replies are the closest that this boomer gets to FB. Tweet occasionally, but like the commenting here and numerous other sites. So I own a Disqus account, have a FB account that I cannot seem to delete,and a Twitter account that I cannot get “verified”. Have barely heard of Instagram and Snapchat. A social media outcast, in other words.

      MajorWood in reply to Ohio Historian. | August 29, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      I still own Batt Guano as a facebook user though I tried to delete it early on. So I guess that I am simultaneously on and off of facebook.

    MajorWood in reply to 02sbxstr. | August 30, 2018 at 10:10 am

    As a card carrying luddite, I simply can’t participate in sites that use a facebook, twatter, or whatever log-in scheme. That is probably by design as adults tend to ruin the fun. I did get a discus account to comment on a local news webpage, but then they disabled the comments section as the comments were proving to be more accurate than the actual reporting, and also better reading. I guess the MSM aren’t so stupid as to provide a forum to mock them, once they finally caught on, of course. I may need to go back and re-read the National Lampoon hometown newspaper. My fading memory is telling me that they were spot-on in their predictions of where journalism was headed.

Mass layoffs at FB in 5…. 4…. 3…. 2….

anonymous moderators who suffer no consequence for abusing their authority.

This, I think, is the key: a near-total lack of accountability. I suspect much of the problem- everything from inept moderation to deleting accounts for “violations”- is done by low-level employees. Who are supposedly objective, yet have little oversight.

A process that required stated reasons for these actions (with references to published Facebook policies) would be a start (yes, if you’re banned they really can’t be bothered to tell you why- and they won’t) plus some sort of appeals process (with potential consequences for employees who abuse their petty authority) would go a long way toward correcting many of these problems.

a near-total lack of accountability.

To go along with the total lack of money you paid them for the service. Facebook isn’t accountable to you. They’re accountable to their paying customers and their shareholders.

If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product, not the customer.

    That doesn’t follow, just because a service is free doesn’t mean the vendor is not accountable. I can’t evade responsibility for lacing your water with LSD just because I gave it away for free.

Milhouse: “until the Trump campaign brought in some very nasty people”

Could you be more specific? Most the Trumop supporters here were commenting long before the GOP primaries, and like me (a Cruz and Walker fan) didn’t support Trump until after he was the GOP nominee running against Hillary.

Now, if you nasty anti-Trumpers like Rags, I think most everyone here would agree with you.

Otherwise, what are you talking about!

I hope fecesbook burns down to the ground along with twitter, instagram and snapchat. They add zero net value to society and degrades interpersonal relationships.

Anyone else think of Jerry Maguire in response to this story?

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