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Facebook reworks diversity programs amid modest gains

The world's largest social network says it's made progress hiring more women and minorities into its ranks, but still isn't "where we want to be."

Facebook says it's hard at work at boosting diversity in its workplace. Facebook

Facebook may be the world's largest social network -- with ambitions to connect every corner of the globe -- but it still has a ways to go before its workforce reflects the diversity of its user base.

The company updated information about how diverse its workforce is Thursday, showing small changes to the makeup of its workforce which is still predominantly white males.

The number of employees who are male, for example, ticked down a percentage point, to 68 percent from 69 percent last year. The same happened among people in its technology-related roles, which fell to 84 percent male this year from 85 percent in 2014. Ethnic diversity changes were a little more pronounced, with the percentage of tech-related employees who are white falling to 51 percent from 53 percent last year.

Overall, Facebook said it knows these changes are small. It has implemented new hiring and managerial practices in attempts to help accelerate change.

"It's clear to all of us that we still aren't where we want to be," wrote Maxine Williams, head of the company's diversity efforts. "There's more work to do."

Facebook is not alone. Silicon Valley has come under increasing scrutiny in the past year over its treatment of women and minorities. Tech companies have faced high-profile lawsuits and charges of discrimination, but that isn't the only problem. As the technology industry grows in influence, with companies like Apple and Google becoming the biggest in the world, the lack of diversity has raised questions about where tech companies stand in the global economy and how they may drive larger issues like employee benefits and health programs.

Many tech companies have begun releasing demographic data of their workforce, promising sweeping changes. Still, little progress has been made.

Last year, Facebook said it would partner with groups like the National Center for Women & Technology, the Anita Borg Institute and Girls Who Code as part of its efforts. This year, Facebook pledged to focus on its internal programs, including bias training and a program to bring promising college freshmen in for an internship during the summer.

The company is also changing the way it recruits, asking hiring managers to identify at least one qualified candidate who is a member of an underrepresented group to fill any open job.