An internal Facebook message board post titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity” has renewed the debate about just how liberal the company’s culture is.
We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views. We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology. We throw labels that end in *obe and *ist at each other, attacking each other’s character rather than their ideas.
We do this so consistently that employees are afraid to say anything when they disagree with what’s around them politically. HR has told me that this is not a rare concern, and I’ve personally gotten over a hundred messages to that effect. Your colleagues are afraid because they know that they — not their ideas — will be attacked. They know that all the talk of “openness to different perspectives” does not apply to causes of “social justice,” immigration, “diversity”, and “equality.” On these issues, you can either keep quiet or sacrifice your reputation and career.
These are not fears without cause. Because we tear down posters welcoming Trump supporters. We regularly propose removing Thiel from our board because he supported Trump. We’re quick to suggest firing people who turn out to be misunderstood, and even quicker to conclude our colleagues are bigots. We have made “All Lives Matter” a fireable offense.
“We put Palmer Luckey through a witch hunt because he paid for anti-Hillary ads. We write each other ad-hoc feedback in the PSC tool for having “offensive” ideas. We ask HR to investigate those who dare to criticize Islam’s human rights record for creating a “non inclusive environment.” And they called me a transphobe when I called out our corporate art for being politically radical.
Liberal employees at Facebook complained that the posts were offensive to minorities, but were rebuffed by the company, who said the group — FB’ers for Political Diversity — hadn’t broken any rules.
More than 100 Facebook employees have joined the group since the post went up, according to two people who viewed the group’s page but were not authorized to speak publicly. The aim of the initiative is to create a space for ideological diversity within the company.
The new group has upset other Facebook employees, who said its online posts were offensive to minorities. One engineer, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, said several people lodged complaints with their managers about FB’ers for Political Diversity. They said they were told that it had not broken any company rules.
Facebook has been under increasing pressure from conservatives who view the company as favoring the left and purposely censoring or removing conservative content under the banner of “fake news” while maintaining a different set of criteria for liberal content creators.
In an effort to combat this image, the company held a meeting with 16 conservative groups at its headquarters in May 2016. But little has been done since that time.
In addition to pressure from conservatives to temper the liberal bias on the platform, Facebook faces a threat from Trump.