Written By: Rupert Neate 1/7/15
Rev Jesse Jackson says black people are becoming ‘intolerant’ with companies like Twitter, which has exploited its large base of minority users for ad revenue.
Twitter employs just 49 black people out of a total US workforce of 2,910. The tiny number of African American staff – 35 men and 14 women – represents just 1.7% of Twitter’s US staff.
The Rev Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow/Push Coalition, who has long campaigned for tech companies to be more transparent about their lack of minority employees, told the Guardian that black people are “becoming intolerant” of Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies’ lack of progress in making their offices more diverse.
The stark lack of black employees comes despite the company’s repeated pledges to make its staff better reflect the diversity of its 302 million users – and as Twitter actively exploits its large number of minority users to bring in more advertising revenue.
African Americans account for 13.6% of the US population, according to the 2010 US census, and Pew Center Research shows that black people use Twitter disproportionately more than white people.
Announcing a plan to “build a Twitter we can be proud of” last year, Twitter’s vice-president of diversity and inclusion, Janet Van Huysse, said: “We are committed to making inclusiveness a cornerstone of our culture.”
At the time, Twitter released brief statistics about its employees’ ethnicity. The company has subsequently quietly released its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) report, a legally mandated filing with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that shows the exact numbers of people of different ethnicities across all ranks of the company.
It showed that 93.8% of employees were white or Asian, with just 180 people out of a total workforce of 2,910 being drawn from other minorities. There were just 49 black members of staff, 68 Hispanics or Latino workers, 47 of “two or more races”, 13 native Hawaiians or other Pacific islanders, and three American Indian or Alaskan natives.