“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.”
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.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.