A day after rolling out “like” counterparts such as “haha” and “angry,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed more of the latter emotion in responding to employees crossing out “Black Lives Matter” on the headquarters’ signature wall, according to an internal memo leaked Thursday.
In the message obtained by Gizmodo, Zuckerberg called it “malicious” that his employees, in a recurring instance, struck out the phrase and wrote “All Lives Matter,” at the Menlo Park, Calif. office.
Zuckerberg wrote, “Despite my clear communication at Q&A last week that this was unacceptable ... this has happened again. I was already very disappointed by this disrespectful behavior before, but after my communication I now consider this malicious as well.”
Facebook is investigating the matter, according to the memo, and Zuckerberg encouraged participation in a town hall meeting on March 4 for staff to educate themselves on the Black Lives Matter movement, which has focused attention on the killing of blacks by police.
The social media company doesn’t have rules about what people can write on its walls, according Zuckerberg’s note, but expects a respectful decorum.
“Regardless of the content or location, crossing out something means silencing speech, or that one person’s speech is more important than another’s,” Zuckerberg wrote.
Facebook’s workforce in the U.S. is about 2 percent black, according to the San Jose Mercury News, citing 2015 data.
“ ‘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 to the Mercury News. “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.”
Facebook reportedly has declined comment on the incident.