Published On: Sat, Mar 6th, 2021

U.S. Authorities Investigating Facebook Over Racial Bias in Hiring

The bad news just keeps on coming for Facebook.

Facebook is currently under investigation by America’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The investigation is over allegations that the world’s largest social media company has been racially biased in both its hiring of new employees as well as its promotions of already existing employees. Reuters reported on a number of complaints which were made describing the problem of racial bias at Facebook as “systemic.”

When the EEOC calls a problem “systemic” it means that the commission believes the it to be widespread and not just related to a few complaints. When this happens it brings in specialists to work with the investigation at hand.

According to Facebook, just 3.9% of its U.S. employees as of last June were Black. This is opposed to a total U.S. population of about 13%.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said about the investigation that “it is essential to provide all employees with a respectful and safe working environment.” He also stated that Facebook takes, “any allegations of discrimination seriously and investigate every case.

Facebook has been in a lot of trouble over the last few years. First there were all of the complaints about how it enables the proliferation of fake news. This began just after the elections of 2016 when such fake news stories were cited as helping Donald Trump get elected President of the United States.

Mark Zuckerberg was personally raked over the coals when he was forced to testify about the matter before the U.S. Congress. Then, in a case of “dammed if you do, damned if you don’t,” the company faced criticism and complaints from users over censorship when it began to take action and remove racist and false posts. Like a month ago when Facebook announced its decision to remove any false claims about COVID-19 vaccinations and vaccinations in general. The policy includes false information about how the Measles and Mumps vaccines given to children cause autism.

In January Facebook took a dramatic step in response to all of the political turmoil which came after the 2020 American elections in November. The world’s mammoth social media service decided that it will cease promoting political groups through political donations.

In February Facebook agreed to a $650 million settlement in a civil suit brought against it over allegations of invasion of privacy. This was the largest settlement ever for a lawsuit of this kind. The suit was brought in 2015 by a group of people over the company’s use of facial recognition technology. This is also known as biometrics. The suit also dealt with geolocation.

Facebook has also been forced to deal with the privacy concerns of its more than 1 billion users around the world. The company changed its policies after people learned to what extent they were being monitored for targeted advertising.

And then came all of the brouhaha over Facebook owned WhatsApp’s decision to share users’ information with it. This was made part of WhatsApp’s updated user’s agreement. And this was followed with Australia’s move to require companies like Facebook and Google to pay media companies for reposting their content. Facebook’s response to the new law was not well received. A similar law might soon be implemented in America too.

Facebook may just need to make a few changes in the coming year as a result of all of this.

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