US lawmakers want tech giants to hire more blacks

By: | Published: October 14, 2017 1:06 PM

Two US lawmakers will visit the Silicon Valley next week to ask technology companies like Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter, Lyft and Uber to hire more people from the black community.

The push to hire more African-Americans comes as Facebook and Twitter are under fire for racist content on their platforms and Google is accused of promoting anti-diversity. (Reuters)

Two US lawmakers will visit the Silicon Valley next week to ask technology companies like Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter, Lyft and Uber to hire more people from the black community.The push to hire more African-Americans comes as Facebook and Twitter are under fire for racist content on their platforms and Google is accused of promoting anti-diversity. Two Democrats — Barbara Lee and G.K. Butterfield — would start meetings with these five companies and others from Monday to push them to increase their efforts to hire and retain more engineers and executives from the community, ReCode reported on Friday.

This initiative — called ‘Congressional Black Caucus’ — is part of a campaign called ‘Tech2020’, which aims to increase the representation of African-American workers at all levels of the tech industry, the report said.Lawmakers launched this initiative in 2015 and at that time, they even threatened to regulate the tech industry if it failed to improve its hiring practices. Under the Donald Trump administration, however, it has become more difficult, Lee said.

In an interview, Lee said she would also prod Facebook and Twitter to address racist content that has been spread on their platforms, “particularly in light of reports that Russian agents — in a bid to stir political unrest in the US – shared such messages on social media during the 2016 presidential election”.”They have got to understand, they’ve got to move quicker,” Lee was quoted as saying.

“And they’ve got to figure out a way to stop allowing these ads that really undermine our elections and create havoc, really, in communities by trying to create division and hostility and hatred,” she added.The report said that at Facebook, roughly half of the team in the US is white. Black engineers only account for three per cent of the social giant’s US payroll. At Twitter, roughly 57 per cent of its US workforce is white and about three per cent is black, according to its 2016 data.

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