A senior Facebook engineer has criticized what he calls the social media giant’s “political monoculture” in an internal memo, prompting over 100 fellow employees to join a group advocating for political diversity.
“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” wrote Brian Amerige in a message obtained and reported on by The New York Times. “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.”
Facebook currently employs over 25,000 people and, like most Silicon Valley companies, is seen as having a left-leaning culture.
Titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,” the memo reportedly caused a stir among Facebook staff after going up on the company’s internal message board last week. Citing anonymous sources inside the organization, the Times reported that as a consequence, over 100 staffers have joined a Facebook group called “FB’ers for Political Diversity.”
The group’s intent, according to the report, is to be a constructive space and reflect a broader spectrum of political views by including people on both the left and the right.
Amerige’s memo calls for the group to be a forum where employees can find ways to make the company “more tolerant and active-minded about different ideological perspectives.”
Some Facebook employees, however, have complained to the company’s leadership that the group’s online posts were offensive to minorities, according to the Times.
Managers reportedly responded by denying that the group had violated any of the company’s policies.
Social Media Giants Under Fire
Amerige’s memo comes at a time when Facebook faces scrutiny on a number of fronts, including allegations that the platform has been used by hostile foreign powers as an instrument of information-based subversion, that it has enabled the proliferation of “hate speech,” and that it has censored content from conservatives.
Facebook, alongside Google, Apple, and Spotify, recently removed from its platform portions of the InfoWars media run by controversial radio host Alex Jones.
Google shut down “The Alex Jones Channel” and several other InfoWars official channels around noon on Aug. 6, after Facebook removed four InfoWars pages, Apple removed five InfoWars podcasts from iTunes, and Spotify removed one podcast earlier that day.
All four companies cited “hate speech” as the reason for removing the content.
Twitter, a holdout that had initially refused to ban Jones outright, partially joined the fray on Aug. 14 by prohibiting Jones and InfoWars from posting tweets for seven days, saying their tweets violated the company’s rules against abusive behavior by posting a video that allegedly contained an “incitement to violence.”
On Aug. 28, U.S. President Donald Trump weighed in with tweets calling out Google for bias in search results.
Trump called out Google for “rigged” search algorithms, in a string of early-morning Twitter posts that appeared to cite a PJ Media report that found liberal media dominates news search results.
Trump accused the company of predominantly showing news results from the “fake news” media and questioned if the practice was lawful.
“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media,” Trump wrote on Aug. 28. “In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD.”
The dispute over politics at Facebook comes a week before the tech giant’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is due to testify at a Senate hearing about social media manipulation in elections.