Black Caucus Member Tells Zuckerberg Facebook Is 'Not Nearly' Diverse Enough
Congressional Black Caucus member G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday that his efforts to include more black people on his company's leadership team have so far fallen short of meeting the goal of diversity.
Zuckerberg said Facebook has increased its representation of black employees from 2 percent to 3 percent, and said the company has implemented several diversity initiatives, but Butterfield said that isn't good enough.
“While this is a small increase, it’s better than none,” Butterfield said. “And this does not nearly meet the definition of building a racially diverse community.”
Butterfield also said a glance at Facebook's leadership team online shows a lack of diversity. That page lists just a few people on the leadership team: Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner, Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, and Chief Product Officer Chris Cox.
“This is your leadership team, and this does not reflect America,” Butterfield said. “Can you improve the numbers on your leadership team to be more diverse?”
Zuckerberg told the Democratic congressman it was an “issue that we’re focused on,” but said the company has a “broader leadership than just five people.”
“It’s not on your website,” Butterfield responded. “We can do better than that. We certainly can. Do you plan to add an African-American to your leadership team in the foreseeable future and will you commit that you will continue to work with us, the Congressional Black Caucus, to increase diversity within your company that you’re so proud of?”
Zuckerberg replied by saying Facebook would continue to work with the Congressional Black Caucus.
Butterfield also pressed Zuckerberg on its retention of black employees.
“There is little transparency in retention numbers, so will you commit to providing numbers on your retention? That’s a big word, retention of your employees,” the North Carolina Democrat said.
Zuckerberg said the company works to include a host of information in its diversity updates, but would discuss with his team adding retention data.
Both Butterfield and Zuckerberg admitted Silicon Valley has an issue with racial diversity, and the congressman suggested Zuckerberg convene a meeting of fellow tech CEOs to come up with a plan for addressing racial diversity.
“CEO leadership on issues of diversity is the only way that the technology industry will change,” he said.
Zuckerberg said Butterfield’s suggestion was a “good idea” that he would follow up on.
“From the conversations that I have with my fellow leaders in the tech industry, I know that this is something that we all understand that the whole industry is behind on and Facebook is certainly a big part of that issue,” he said. “We care about this, not just from the justice angle, but because we know that having diverse views is what will help us serve our community better, which is ultimately what we’re here to do, and I think we know the industry is behind on this.”
Zuckerberg is testifying before lawmakers for the second day on Facebook’s use of consumer data.