Facebook apologizes after anonymous post alleges racism at company

The social media company has been accused of empowering "racism against its employees of color."

Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie award for consumer analysis
Queenie Wong
2 min read

Facebook employees are raising concerns about racism.

Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook  apologized Friday after an anonymous online document alleged that black, Latino and Asian women continued to face racism at the company a year after a former employee brought the issue into public view. The post, titled "Facebook empowers racism against its employees of color" and published on Medium, outlines incidents that 12 current and former employees experienced while on the job.

One program manager was asked by two white employees to clean up after they ate breakfast, according to the post. When the person brought the experience to a boss, the employee was allegedly told to "dress more professionally." Another employee was allegedly scolded for sharing an opinion at a meeting. 

"On the inside, we are sad. Angry. Oppressed. Depressed," the post reads. "And treated every day through the micro and macro aggressions as if we do not belong here."

In a statement, Facebook acknowledged problems at the company, though it didn't address the individual complaints in the document. CNET couldn't reach the authors of the post, who call themselves FB Blind

"No one at Facebook, or anywhere, should have to put up with this behavior," Facebook spokeswoman Bertie Thomson said in a statement. "We are sorry. It goes against everything that we stand for as a company. We're listening and working hard to do better." 

The complaints come nearly a year after a former Facebook employee said the company failed black workers and users. Mark Luckie, who left his job at Facebook as a strategic partner manager for global influencers focused on underrepresented voices, publicly shared a memo after sending it to employees internally. In the post, he says that Facebook's black employees are called "hostile" or "aggressive" by nonblack team members.

Luckie's complaints are referenced in the new post. The authors, who remained anonymous because they fear losing their jobs, said the situation hasn't improved.

"Racism, discrimination, bias, and aggression do not come from the big moments," the post reads. "It's in the small actions that mount up over time and build into a culture where we are only meant to be seen as quotas, but never heard, never acknowledged, never recognized, and never accepted."

Facebook's workforce is mostly made up of white and Asian people. In the US, about 3.8% of Facebook employees are black, according to the company's 2019 diversity report. Facebook's employees have previously raised concerns about diversity and inclusion within the company. In 2016, CEO Mark Zuckerberg scolded employees for crossing out the phrase "Black Lives Matter" on a wall at Facebook's Menlo Park, California, headquarters and replacing it with "all lives matter." Other major tech companies have also struggled with making their workforces more diverse.