Tell Twitter: Disclose your diversity data
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Tell Twitter: Disclose your diversity data
After years of pressure, Silicon Valley companies have finally started releasing their employee diversity numbers, but Twitter still hasn’t done so.
The numbers aren’t good. Black men and women make up less than 3% of companies like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo. (1)
Google has acknowledged that it’s “miles” from where it wants to be, and “that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution.” (2) Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook, eBay, Pandora and Apple have or indicated they will release their workforce data. Intel, Cisco, and HP have done so for years.
As an industry leader, Twitter must follow suit.
Tell Twitter: Release your employee diversity numbers immediately and signal your commitment to real inclusion by hosting a forum on race in Silicon Valley.
While disclosure is a necessary first step, it by itself isn’t enough. That’s why we’re also calling on Twitter to work with ColorOfChange and our allies to host a forum discussion about lack of racial diversity in Silicon Valley, and commit to concrete steps to tackle this problem.
Led by Reverend Jesse Jackson, our friends at the Rainbow Push Coalition have been doing tremendous work elevating this issue. ColorOfChange is teaming up with them on this campaign. Reverend Jackson spoke at Hewlett-Packard’s shareholder meeting in March, saying:
"At its best, Silicon Valley can be a tremendously positive change agent for the world; at its worst, it can hold on to old patterns that exclude people of color and women from opportunity and advancement. Silicon Valley and the tech industry must transform itself to mirror the America it depends upon for talent and customers.” (3)
We couldn’t agree more. Demand that Twitter disclose and host a forum on diversity and inclusion.
Twitter has made the world a more connected and transparent place. There’s tremendous value in shining a spotlight onto issues that very few people are paying attention to, as Black folks on Twitter do everyday — trending hashtags and shaping the national conversation.
Black Twitter brought the Trayvon Martin case to public attention when almost no one was talking about it. It forced the cancellation of a book deal for a juror in the George Zimmerman trial. And using satire, Black Twitter caused the cancellation of celebrity chef Paula Deen’s endorsement deals after she admitted to used the N-word. (4)
Black folks on Twitter are a powerful group, using the platform not only to share news and discuss pop culture, but to create real change in society.
Twitter must live up to its platform’s transparency and join other industry leaders in voluntarily disclosing employee demographic data, sending a bright signal that inclusion and diversity are real priorities for the company.
Twitter's user base is racially diverse, and has nearly twice the rate of Black users compared to the Internet writ large. And the company uses this fact to attract advertisers. (5) But the unfortunate reality is that Twitter, like much of the industry, probably doesn't reflect its users. This is what we need to know.
If Black people are engines of profit for Twitter, they must also be a representative part of the company and its leadership. Currently not a single Black person serves on the board or on the executive team. And this is unacceptable.
The American tech industry is known for moving nimbly and disrupting old ways of doing things so that we can be better, more efficient as a society. It must also move quickly to disrupt the status quo of exclusion, toward a model of true inclusion at every level.
- "Facebook's Diversity Numbers Are Out, And They're What You Expect", NPR, 2014-06-26
- "Getting to work on diversity at Google", Google Blog, 2014-05-28
- "Rev Jesse Jackson Challenges Silicon Valley at HP Shareholders Meeting", Rainbow Push, 2014-03-20
- "More Than Fun & Games: The True Power of #BlackTwitter", Atlanta Black Star, 2014-03-10
- "Twitter Users' Diversity Becomes an Ad Selling Point", Wall Street Journal, 2014-01-20