Facebook Employees Reprimanded for Replacing “Black Lives Matter” Slogan

Some writers express themselves by defacing what others have written.

Some writers express themselves by defacing what others have written.

At the company headquarters for Facebook, there is a physical wall where visitors and employees can write messages. There have been several incidents in which the slogan “Black Lives Matter” was written on the wall but was crossed out and replaced with “All lives matter”. Gizmodo obtained an internal message in which Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, reprimanded Facebook employees for this behavior, which he called disappointing and disrespectful. He also wrote in his message that since the employees were continuing the behavior after he previously discussed the matter with them, he now considers the behavior malicious.

“Black Lives Matter” is a movement that was started after a white neighborhood night watch volunteer in Florida fatally shot an unarmed 17-year-old black male, Trayvon Martin, and was acquitted of second degree murder for it. The slogan indicates the civil rights movement that grew in response to this incident and to police killings of unarmed black men across the nation. It also stimulated nationwide discussion about racism. “All lives matter” is viewed by many as an attempt to negate the movement and dilute discussions.

In his message, Zuckerberg also wrote:  “There are specific issues affecting the black community in the United States, coming from a history of oppression and racism. ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t—it’s simply asking that the black community also achieve the justice they deserve.”

Additionally, Zuckerberg wrote “Crossing out something means silencing speech, or that one person’s speech is more important than another’s. Facebook should be a service and a community where everyone is treated with respect.”

According to Facebook’s most recent diversity report, about two percent of the company’s U.S. workforce is black and a smaller percentage are technology employees. The company serves 1.6 billion users worldwide from various cultures. As a part of Black History Month celebration, Facebook hosts 200 students from underserved communities to visit Facebook headquarters for a tour, career panel, and other activities.

Zuckerman closed his message by encouraging his employees to participate in a town hall to educate themselves about the Black Lives Matter movement.

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