Facebook’s Non-Diverse Status Welcomed Cambridge Analytica Scandal

  • Facebook’s workforce is only 3% black
  • 70% of Black adults are on Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg was in the hot seat on Capitol Hill regarding how Facebook (FB +0.19%) handles user data. The hearing expanded from data privacy to diversity concerns about what the social media company is doing to rectify underrepresentation of minorities. Is Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica issue just a broader symptom of its diversity problem?

Why This Matters: Black people are prolific when it comes to social media, and these companies are not in the business of protecting your privacy. According to Pew Research 70% of Black adults are on Facebook, followed by 43% on Instagram, 28% on LinkedIn and 26% on Twitter (TWTR -0.63%). When it comes to data breaches they are often more problematic for people of color, living on fixed or low incomes, or from other marginalized communities.

The social media giant’s workforce and leadership is only 3% black. This continued lack of diversity at Facebook hinders it from identifying ways their product might harm certain customers. Also, in theory this allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest valuable information on the largest social media user group, including black people’s participation in elections and spending habits. During the hearing Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina asked Zuckerberg if he planned to add a black executive to the company’s currently all white leadership team while also stating “This does not represent America.”

Situational Awareness: It may be time to get an Internet Consumer Bill of Rights. This can promote one standard of privacy and one set of rules that apply to all companies in the internet ecosystem. The basic idea behind this has been around for some time and former President Barack Obama actually proposed a similar protection plan in 2012.

CBx Vibe:Domino Effect” Kevin George