Twitter under pressure to release data

Reverend Jesse Jackson, a U.S. civil rights advocate has begun pressuring Twitter to follow in the footsteps of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo, to release its employee diversity data, claiming that blacks were underrepresented in the tech community based on racial discrimination rather than on skills and abilities.

Jackson has founded The Rainbow Push Coalition, a black empowerment group, with the aim of raising awareness towards Silicon Valley companies which are allegedly discriminating against African Americans, demanding that Twitter host a public community forum to recruit black employees. Twitter’s counterparts in Silicon Valley ave already released statistics of the demographics of their employees at the demand of Jackson, revealing a real under representation of blacks in the companies, leading to outrage among activists, who demand recruitment and restructure by the companies involved.

Google, for example, has 61% white male employees and 2% black employees, demonstrating that the company may favor white Caucasians over females and blacks, sparking controversy in the business world. ¬†Facebook, similarly to Google, has 2% black employees, both companies explaining away the discrepancy via unqualified applicants and a lower percentage of blacks and women earning computer science degrees in the United States. Jackson replied that these arguments weren’t valid and said that they are misleading and generalize the black population as an uneducated and unqualified group, which is unacceptable.

Diversity records of companies are not required to be made public, they just need to be submitted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission but the aforementioned companies were pressured by Jackson and his coalition and by Colorofchange.org to release their diversity reports, but Twitter has been silent to the issue so far, refusing to release the data requested.

On Friday at the Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, ColorofChange will lead a “Black Twitter” plenary session where activists will push out the petition campaign over Twitter and other social media, in hope of getting companies to cooperate in light of employment diversification and equal employment opportunities for the black community in America.