Tell Twitter: Move from disclosure toward real inclusion

Sign the Petition

    • if in the US click here
    • Receive SMS updates? †
    Not ? Click here.

    * denotes required fields


    Tell Twitter: Move from disclosure toward real inclusion

    UPDATE - July 24, 2014

    After thousands of ColorOfChange members raised their voices, we won on our diversity disclosure ask! On July 23, Twitter published a blog post revealing the company's demographic numbers (copied below). Like much of the tech industry, it has a long way to go.

    As a next step, we've invited Twitter to work with ColorOfChange and our allies in hosting a public forum that addresses the company's plan to recruit and retain more Black, Latino, and woman talent -- sending a bright signal that inclusion and diversity are real priorities for the social media giant. To achieve our second ask, we need a lot more folks to get involved. The ColorOfChange community got Twitter to disclose its diversity data. Together we can win again and push the tech industry toward real inclusion at every level.

    If you haven't done so, join this campaign to the right and make sure to share it on Facebook. 

    The graphs are a bit hard to read (you can click to enlarge), so here are the numbers across the company:

    • Black: 2%
    • Hispanic or Latino: 3%
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 1%
    • American Indian or Alaska Native: 3%
    • Other: 2%
    • Asian: 29%
    • White: 59%
    • Women: 30%
    • Men: 70%


    Last year, when confronted with criticism about his appointment of an all-white, all-male Board of Directors Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter, responded with a dismissive, joking tweet. 

    "The whole thing has to be about more than checking a box & saying 'we did it!'," he later typed. (1)

    It's been months now since Costolo's defensive response and although Twitter later added a white woman board member to it's exclusive club, (2) the company has yet to publicly address the failure to appoint a single Black person to its board despite data that confirms that Black folks make up a disproportionate share of Twitter's user-base.

    Much worse, in recent weeks as other Silicon Valley tech companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn took the historic first step to release depressing data about the racial and gender composition of their staffs, Twitter has remained silent -- refusing to jump on the data-release-bandwagon. (3)

    That's why we're joining with Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Push Coalition to call on Twitter to do two things: 1) release your employee diversity numbers immediately and 2) signal your commitment to real inclusion by hosting a public community forum that addresses the company's plan to recruit and retain more Black talent. Will you join us? It only takes a minute. 

    Twitter is unlikely to break any trends

    To date, most of the data disclosures have confirmed that Silicon Valley prefers its workers to be male and either white or Asian. (4, 5) And although Twitter is unlikely to break any diversity trends that have emerged, transparency and making a public commitment to improving the recruitment and retention of Black employees are critical first steps.

    Though its minority representation numbers may mirror other Silicon Valley tech companies, Twitter has a very unique role to play in this national conversation about hiring discrimination. Although not on the payroll, Twitter's platform -- via the cultural force known as "Black Twitter" (6, 7, 8) -- has been built off the creativity of Black people and, as such, the company owes our community more -- more transparency, and a more thoughtful solutions-oriented approach that addresses its failure to be more inclusive without blaming Black people.

    Shifting the blame

    Unfortunately, many of the tech companies (and their pundits) have been quick to incorrectly blame a leaky "talent pipeline" for the extreme racial hiring disparities revealed by these disclosures; pointing to statistics about the dearth of computer science degrees awarded to Black men and women and bragging about their own philanthropic-investments in tech education for minorities.  Silicon Valley apologists are working to divert blame. 

    Completely ignoring the fact that Black people are also severely underrepresented in nontechnical Silicon Valley roles, these blame-shifting tactics are not only misleading, they also serve to reinforce the false and problematic narrative that Black people are simply "unqualified," undeserving and not valuable -- that Black-thought is unqualified, underserving and not valuable.

    We cannot allow a corporate culture that seems hell-bent on making excuses for its replication of tired "good ol' boy" networks to malign the intellectual and creative capacities of Black people in the process. 

    Sign the Petition