Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had some harsh words for employees who repeatedly crossed out the “black lives matter” catchphrase and replaced it with “all lives matter” on the company’s doodle walls.
In an internal memo, Zuckerberg admonished staff that the “several recent instances” of employees replacing “black lives matter” with “all lives matter” on the walls was “unacceptable” and “malicious.”
“Despite my clear communication at Q&A last week that this was unacceptable…this has happened again,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I was already very disappointed by this disrespectful behavior before, but after my communication, I now consider this malicious as well.”
The social network’s CEO specified that the phrase “black lives matter” doesn’t imply superiority, but is a reflection of historical issues of racism and oppression affecting the African American community.
“‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t — it’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Regardless of the content or location, 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.”
Facebook’s staff mirrors that of other Silicon Valley giants and is predominantly white and male. Only 2 percent of Facebook employees are black. Like much of the industry, Facebook has pushed to make its staff more diverse with new initiatives to help recruit more Black and Hispanics. The company also began offering unconscious bias training for existing employees to help dissect complex issues around race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
The company is currently investigating the incidents and will host a town hall meeting March 4 to spotlight the issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.
Read Zuckerberg’s full statement below: