Facebook manager exits, says she was ‘harassed’ for pro-diversity views


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A Facebook engineering manager left the social media giant this month, saying she’d been harassed after criticizing the tech company’s lack of diversity, according to a report Thursday.

Sophie Alpert wrote a post on Workplace, Facebook’s internal social network, about the reasons for her departure, CNBC reported. In the post, Alpert, who identifies as transgender, pointed a finger at a co-worker’s remark on Workplace. She also wrote that she was attacked on Blind, a third-party app that lets employees chat anonymously.

“Facebook is good for many people, but it’s not the right place for me right now,” Alpert wrote in her Workplace post, according to CNBC. “I want to spend my time at a place willing to push further on diversity and inclusion. One where it’s not OK to write on Workplace that white privilege doesn’t exist. One where if I call out that our board has too many white men, I don’t get harassed by other employees on Blind with transphobic messages saying I should be fired.”

Facebook confirmed that Alpert posted internally about why she was leaving the company. 

“Sophie is very aware of how serious we took her concerns, given she spent significant time with members of our human resources team who worked in earnest to address the issues on Blind,” said Facebook spokesman Anthony Harrison. “Because the comments in question were made anonymously there, we weren’t able to find out who posted them.” 

Facebook doesn’t “tolerate harassment of any kind,” Harrison said, and “has clear policies about how people should communicate with and treat each other at Facebook.”

Alpert and Blind didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

It isn’t the first time a Facebook employee has complained about the lack of diversity at the world’s largest social network. Mark Luckie, who left his job as Facebook’s strategic partner manager for global influencers, accused the company of failing its black employees and users. Luckie shared his note publicly in November. At the time, Facebook said it was doing all it could to be a “truly inclusive company.”

Like other technology companies, Facebook has struggled to diversify a workforce that’s mainly made up of white and Asian men. In July, Facebook reported that about 4 percent of its US workforce was black and 5 percent was Hispanic. About 8 percent of Facebook’s US employees identified as transgender or LGBQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer or asexual).

Facebook, which was hit by a series of scandals over data privacy and security last year, has also dealt with a string of executive departures. In December, Facebook dropped from No. 1 for 2018 to No. 7 for 2019 in Glassdoor’s list of best places to work. 

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