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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Calls for Twitter to publicly release its workforce demographic numbers are being waged in an online campaign waged on Twitter itself.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the ColorofChange.org are using Twitter to host a forum on the issue of low minority representation within tech companies.
Twitter is being singled out after previous efforts by the advocacy groups resulted in companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and LinkedIn releasing data showing their overwhelming lack of workforce diversity – but Twitter has so far refused to release its demographics. A spokesman for the San Francisco-based company said Wednesday told USA Today that the company had nothing to announce “at this time.”
Thursday, tweets containing the hashtags #twitterdata and #disclosetwitterdatanow were being widely posted and re-tweeted ahead of the annual Netroots Nations political conference in Detroit Friday, where activists will urge people to join tweet and join their cause.
A petition from the coalition says Twitter, “has remained silent, resisting and refusing to publicly disclose its EEO-1 workforce diversity/inclusion data.”
The company has yet to publicly address the failure to appoint a single Black person to its board despite data that confirms that Black folks make up a disproportionate share of Twitter’s user-base.
Much worse, in recent weeks as other Silicon Valley tech companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn took the historic first step to release depressing data about the racial and gender composition of their staffs, Twitter has remained silent — refusing to jump on the data-release-bandwagon.
The campaign urges Twitter to release employee diversity numbers immediately and host a community forum to addresses it’s plan to recruit more African Americans.
Twitter holds a unique role in the employee diversity discussion as blacks are over-represented on the social network. While blacks make up 10 per cent of the U.S. population, they make up 25 percent of Twitter users, according to a 2013 study by the Pew Research Center.
“There’s also an over-representation on Twitter of people for whom mobile is their primary way of accessing the Internet,” said social media specialist Kimberly Ellis.
The phenomenon known as ‘Black Twitter’ — the ongoing discussions on Twitter referencing race, pop culture, current events and other issues that interest or affect the Black community — is credited with being a cultural force that can influence national dialogue and events.
A Black Twitter uproar was credited with torpedoing a book deal by one of the jurors in trial of George Zimmerman – acquitted of murdering unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. It was also influential in igniting the firestorm surrounding food industry celebrity Paula Deen after she admitted in a deposition to using the n-word.
Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange, told USA Today Twitter has an obligation to be “transparent and clear with the community that has helped them grow.”
“We are not going to stand by and be silent while Twitter continues to benefit and grow off the creativity, the ideas and the engagement from our community while we are being shut out from the economic growth and opportunities that come with that,” Robinson told USA Today.