MENLO PARK — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg scolded employees this week for crossing out the phrase “Black Lives Matter” and writing “All Lives Matter” on the walls of the company’s headquarters.
In a leaked internal message, Zuckerberg said he and other leaders have told employees in the past to stop the behavior but it hasn’t ceased yet.
“I was already very disappointed by this disrespectful behavior before, but after my clear communication I now consider this malicious as well,” he wrote in the post.
The company has a physical wall at its headquarters where visitors and employees can write messages, and the 31-year-old CEO noted that crossing out a phrase is equivalent to silencing speech. Facebook declined to comment on the record about the incidents, which the company is investigating.
Zuckerberg’s stern remarks come as tech companies, including Facebook are trying to diversify a workforce that is mostly made up of white and Asian men. About 2 percent of Facebook’s U.S. workforce is black, and a smaller percentage are tech employees at the social media company, data from 2015 shows.
” ‘All Lives Matter’ is one of a number of coded phrases that tell employees of color that they don’t really belong. Similar to the damning praise of telling a Black man that he is articulate, or complaining that diversity efforts mean ‘lowering the bar,’ ” Freada Kapor Klein, a partner at the Kapor Center for Social Impact in Oakland, said in a statement. “It’s exactly these sorts of slights and micro-aggressions that cause talent of color to leave the job and contributes to the overall dismal diversity we see in tech.”