It's not our fault we don't hire black people, says Facebook

It's because, you know, there aren't enough of them


Facebook has explained away another year of dreadful diversity figures by claiming that there simply aren't enough minorities available for it to hire.

Despite having been at the receiving end of years of criticism for its overwhelmingly white male workforce, the social media giant's latest figures show that only 4 per cent of its workers are Hispanic and just 2 per cent African-American. The percentage of women at the company crept up a single percentage point to 33 per cent.

Despite acknowledging that "we still have a long way to go," the company that is never wrong says it has been "working hard to increase diversity" but has been stymied by the fact that there just aren't enough qualified people that aren't white men.

And it said that in the most roundabout way imaginable: "It has become clear that at the most fundamental level, appropriate representation in technology or any other industry will depend upon more people having the opportunity to gain necessary skills through the public education system."

In the weirdest bit of data cherry-picking that we've seen for some time, Facebook noted that: "No Black people took the [Advanced Placement Computer Science exam] in nine states including Mississippi, where about 50 per cent of high school graduates are Black." There are of course 50 states in the United States – what about the other 41?

But fear not! Change is coming, and Facebook noted that of the new senior leadership hires in the past 12 months, 9 per cent are black, five per cent are Hispanic, and 29 per cent are women.

Which apart from the small increase in black hires – from 2 to 9 per cent – is a rounding error improvement in Hispanic and actually worse figures for women.

If all that wasn't bad enough, the most highly valued jobs at the company – tech jobs – provide even worse figures: just one per cent black, three per cent Hispanic and 17 per cent women.

Solutions

What is Facebook going to do about it? Is it going to tie workforce bonuses to achieving greater equality? Nope. Is it going to increase the finder's fee for people who bring women and minorities into its workforce? Nope. Is it going to set targets to be met by future dates? Nope. Is its CEO going to lead the charge and make it a priority? Nope.

What it is going to do is "continue to grow" the "Facebook University (FBU) program" that had 170 students last year! But from which Facebook, by its own admission, only hired a "handful."

And it is going to continue its "Computer Science and Engineering Lean In Circles program," which encourages women already in tech-related degree courses not to drop out. "Our hope is that with additional support, they will stay the course through graduation and we will experience an improvement in the number of women graduating with these critical skills," it notes.

And Facebook will give $15m to Code.org – a non-profit organization focussed on computer science that already has much, much larger backers – as well as "continue to invest" in an online resource called TechPrep that it reports breathlessly "has had over half a million unique visitors from all 50 states." (Quick suggestion: why not support Black Girls Code and solve several problems at once?)

"While there is a lot of distance to cover in the short, medium and long term, we're moving in the right direction," its post on its latest diversity report ends. Only a company that doesn't expect to make any progress would recognize it is going to be behind in the long term. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Meta agrees to tweak ad system after US govt brands it discriminatory
    And pay the tiniest of fines, too

    Facebook parent Meta has settled a complaint brought by the US government, which alleged the internet giant's machine-learning algorithms broke the law by blocking certain users from seeing online real-estate adverts based on their nationality, race, religion, sex, and marital status.

    Specifically, Meta violated America's Fair Housing Act, which protects people looking to buy or rent properties from discrimination, it was claimed; it is illegal for homeowners to refuse to sell or rent their houses or advertise homes to specific demographics, and to evict tenants based on their demographics.

    This week, prosecutors sued Meta in New York City, alleging the mega-corp's algorithms discriminated against users on Facebook by unfairly targeting people with housing ads based on their "race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin."

    Continue reading
  • Metaverse progress update: Some VR headset prototypes nowhere near shipping
    But when it does work, bet you'll fall over yourselves to blow ten large on designer clobber for your avy

    Facebook owner Meta's pivot to the metaverse is drawing significant amounts of resources: not just billions in case, but time. The tech giant has demonstrated some prototype virtual-reality headsets that aren't close to shipping and highlight some of the challenges that must be overcome.

    The metaverse is CEO Mark Zuckerberg's grand idea of connected virtual worlds in which people can interact, play, shop, and work. For instance, inhabitants will be able to create avatars to represent themselves, wearing clothes bought using actual money – with designer gear going for five figures.

    Apropos of nothing, Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg is leaving the biz.

    Continue reading
  • Facebook phishing campaign nets millions in IDs and cash
    Hundreds of millions of stolen credentials and a cool $59 million

    An ongoing phishing campaign targeting Facebook users may have already netted hundreds of millions of credentials and a claimed $59 million, and it's only getting bigger.

    Identified by security researchers at phishing prevention company Pixm in late 2021, the campaign has only been running since the final quarter of last year, but has already proven incredibly successful. Just one landing page - out of around 400 Pixm found - got 2.7 million visitors in 2021, and has already tricked 8.5 million viewers into visiting it in 2022. 

    The flow of this phishing campaign isn't unique: Like many others targeting users on social media, the attack comes as a link sent via DM from a compromised account. That link performs a series of redirects, often through malvertising pages to rack up views and clicks, ultimately landing on a fake Facebook login page. That page, in turn, takes the victim to advert landing pages that generate additional revenue for the campaign's organizers. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022