Things That Matter

Facebook Wants To Add Latinas In Tech To Their Teams And Offer Them A Slice Of Their Big Salary Earning Pie

While creating an idyllic work atmosphere can seem nearly impossible, there’s no doubting that a diverse work environment can help push companies closer to achieving this. Time and time again, research has proven that diversity in the workplace is essential. Not only can having people from different backgrounds and walks of life drive creativity and productivity it can also foster education and empathy. One of the most influential companies in the world right now has recently, fortunately, decided to take a step back, survey its employee landscape and add diversity to it.

In the latest big move from social media giant, Facebook has announced its plans to diversify its existing workforce within the next five years.

On July 10th, the social media giant released its latest job numbers and explained where it hopes to see itself in the near future.

Twitter / @FBnewsroom

In its sixth-annual diversity report, Facebook disclosed that it has had little success hiring from what it refers to as “traditionally underrepresented groups.” Since 2014, the social media company has worked globally to hire more employees who are Black, Latino, Indigenous and Pacific Islanders as well as disabled employees and veterans. It has also focused on hiring more women around the world.

This year, Facebook claims that its workforce breaks down to  63.1% male and 36.9% female. Also, 44.2% of its employees are white. The remaining employee population amounts to 43% Asian, 5.2% Latinx and 3.8% Black. An added 3.1% of its employees report being from two or more backgrounds while 0.7% were marked down as “other” — mostly consisting of Indigenous people and Pacific Islanders.

However, it seems the company has its work cut out for themselves because they have only shown minor improvements in these categories in the past year.

Twitter / @flashrecruiter

“We’ve made some progress increasing the number of people from traditionally underrepresented groups employed at Facebook but we recognize that we need to do more,” Facebook admitted in its report.

This year’s stats find only a .6% increase in women employees over last year’s percentage. Senior leadership has also changed from 70% male to 67.4%. Additionally, its efforts to improve its racial diversity has also proved to be a slow process. Over year, it increased 1.6% in Asian employees, .3% in Latinx employees and .3% in Black employees. Facebook only increased their representation in their “other” and “two or more” categories by .1% each.

Though the numbers appear disheartening, Facebook is confident to expand upon what little progress they’ve achieved.

Twitter / @DigiCrimRMIT

In a Facebook blog post, the company states:

“Since 2014, we have increased the number of Black women at Facebook by 25X and the number of Black men by 10X. And importantly, even as we have grown, we have worked very hard on making Facebook a more welcoming, respectful workplace.”

While these numbers sound impressive, considering the small percentages their diversity breaks down to, it is still nowhere close to where a huge company like Facebook should be. Still, they have big goals for increasing these numbers — both globally and nationally — over the next five years.

Their blog post goes on to say:

“We envision a company wherein the next five years, at least 50% of our workforce will be women, people who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islanders, people with two or more ethnicities, people with disabilities, and veterans. In doing this, we aim to double our number of women globally and Black and Hispanic employees in the US. It will be a company that reflects and better serves the people on our platforms, services, and products. It will be a more welcoming community advancing our mission and living up to the responsibility that comes with it.”

Though this is an ambitious push for more company diversity, some critics point out that Facebook has, so far, failed Black and Latinx women.

Twitter / @jguynn

As a technology journalist for USA Today, Jessica Guynn covered this failure last year when Facebook released its fifth-yearly diversity report.

In her piece, she reported:

“The sharpest deficits in Silicon Valley are African-American and Hispanic women, who make up 1 percent or fewer of workers, while across other industries they are represented at much higher rates consistent with their proportion of the overall U.S. population.”

Guynn goes on to point out the lack of intersectionality in diversity hiring:

“Allison Scott, chief of research at the Kapor Center, says the diversity conversation in Silicon Valley mostly focuses on race and ethnicity or gender, not both. And efforts made by tech companies to close the gender gap have boosted the fortunes of white women while hobbling progress for women of color.”

Failure to recognize that marginalized people can also have privilege has benefited white women in diversity hiring. Also, not seeing that a marginalized person can occupy more than one category has failed Black women and women of color as well as female veterans and disabled women.

Twitter / @marcboxser

Though their slow growth can be discouraging, it’s a start. More companies need to embrace a more diversified workforce that reflects the true dynamics of our society. Until that is achieved, these organizations will miss out on amazing employees simply because of outdated hiring processes.

Facebook Dating App Will Reveal Your Secret Admirers Among Your Friend’s List And Are We Ready For This?

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Facebook Dating App Will Reveal Your Secret Admirers Among Your Friend’s List And Are We Ready For This?

Facebook

Facebook isn’t exactly the most loved social media platform right now. In fact, trust has become a serious issue for the tech giant. So, today when Facebook announced that it’s dating service was coming to the US, many were left thinking…really?!

But apparently, Facebook has finally decided to enter the dating game and the Internet has some thoughts.

Yes, it’s true. Facebook has entered the world of digital dating and they want to be your matchmaker.

The second-least-sexy social media app (after LinkedIn) has officially entered the business of love. Facebook Dating, which has existed in other countries since last year, launched in the US today in the hope that Facebook can compete with existing dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OKCupid.

“It takes the work out of creating a dating profile and gives you a more authentic look at who someone is,” Facebook’s blog post says.

Users of Instagram will also be able to integrate their posts directly into their “Facebook Dating” profile and give people the ability to add Instagram followers to “Secret Crush” lists. Eventually, the site will offer the ability for users to add Facebook and Instagram Stories to a dating profile.

Facebook’s blog post said the dating feature was designed to be “safe, inclusive and opt-in.” Users are able to report and block other users, and users are not allowed to send photos, links, payments or videos in messages. Users can also share details of an upcoming date or a live location with someone they trust on Facebook Messenger if they wish.

Already, the dating service isn’t generating the most positive buzz.

Facebook says it matches people based on what they like. But there’s obviously more to the story.

Facebook Dating will also gather even more information from Facebook users, information that will presumably be more intimate, up to date, and relevant to what people actually like and think. That’s essentially the sales pitch of Facebook Dating: Facebook has more data on you, so they’ll pair you up with a better match. “Facebook Dating makes it easier to find love through what you like — helping you start meaningful relationships through things you have in common, like interests, events and groups,” reads the first line of the press release.

Ok…but how is Facebook Dating going to work?

To use Facebook’s own words, it’s complicated. Though many have noted the aesthetic similarities between its interface — which is available to users 18 and older within the regular Facebook mobile app (in a separate tab) — and that of the dating app Hinge, the fact that Facebook is already a part of people’s lives whether they’re looking to date or not makes things a bit unusual.

Facebook is attempting to clear most of those hurdles by making Dating as separate as possible from its regular app. First and foremost, users must opt in to the service, then create an entirely distinct profile. Notably, Facebook Dating does not show users their Facebook friends, and also gives people the ability to remove friends of friends from their potential matches. You can also block specific people on Facebook from seeing your dating profile. Users can, however, message one another without matching first.

Perhaps the most shocking part of it all is…”Secret Crush.”

Yes, there’s a tool literally called ‘Secret Crush” and if there’s any one thing I’m most nervous about, it’s this.

Secret Crush is where you can add up to nine (!) Facebook friends or Instagram followers to a list, and if they secretly crush you back, you’ll both get notified. (The tool only works if both people have set up Facebook Dating profiles; Timothée Chalamet will not get notified if you add his Instagram account to your Secret Crush list, and even then you can only do that if Timothée Chalamet is following you.)

The app isn’t exactly new – it was already available in 19 other countries before landing in the US.

With today’s launch, Facebook Dating is now available in 20 countries. In addition to the United States, it’s now live in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam. 

The product will come to Europe early next year, Facebook said.

Not too surprising, many people aren’t exactly ready to trust Facebook with their love life.

Announcing the feature, Facebook pledged that it would keep users’ dating profile info separate from other Facebook activity. But many remain skeptical.

Seth Carter, 32, an engineer from Terre Haute, Indiana, said he had used dating apps ranging from Match to Bumble, Tinder and Christian Mingle prior to his current relationship. 

“Facebook is here to make money and I get that,” he told the Associated Press. But he worries that Facebook’s stated commitment to privacy would ultimately buckle under pressure to make money off the service. “That likely means they’re going to sell my dating preferences, which means even more intrusions into my life.” 

Facebook says it won’t be doing any of that. But users like Carter can hardly be blamed for their apprehension.

Reactions on Twitter have been nothing short of amazing.

This guy makes a great point. Given the companies pending anti-trust lawsuits and $4 billion fine and all the lost confidence from Facebook’s users, simply using something attached to Facebook is questionable. Then you have the whole world of dating which can be toxic and dangerous and unpleasant all on its own.

All of this begs the question, will people actually use Facebook Dating?

Despite its lateness to the game, Facebook Dating will tap into a wildly lucrative market. Analysts estimate the market could be worth $12 billion by 2020, and Match Group, which owns nearly all of the most popular dating apps besides Bumble, pulled in $1.7 billion in revenue last year. And perhaps Facebook Dating will court the kinds of users who are turned off by other dating apps, be it due to age or preconceived notions about their hookup-oriented nature.

From WhatsApp To Facebook, Here’s How Social Media Has Been Weaponized Against Free And Fair Democracy

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From WhatsApp To Facebook, Here’s How Social Media Has Been Weaponized Against Free And Fair Democracy

veja.abril.com.br / Busakorn Pongparnit / Getty Images

Social media has been credited with the success of mobilizing young voters to elect Barack Obama into office; it was the catalyst and accelerator of the Arab Spring; it put racial injustice at the forefront with #BlackLivesMatter. 

But with each story celebrating how the tech tool has helped democracy, there’s a matching narrative with nefarious players choosing to use it in order to undermine free and fair governments. One does not need to look too far to find a recent example of this issue—the 2016 election and the Trump administration is synonymous with fake news.

Our personal data has been weaponized by third-party organizations attempting to sway elections without regard to the will of the voters.

Credit: @SusanSoloman / Twitter

The Great Hack,” a 2019 documentary, provides further proof of how data from Facebook was weaponized by Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting company, in order to give rise to the Trump Administration, Brexit and other far-right political agendas. 

The way this was done was bombarding swing voters with messaging that stoked their fears. Depending on information collected from a one-click personality test, a personality assessment was made and then used to manipulate them for the benefit of Cambridge Analytica’s clients. Some people might believe themselves to be smarter than the person who willingly gives up personal data to a third-party vendor who uses it to sell them things. However, Cambridge Analytica was so far-reaching because they didn’t just crawl the profiles of the original user giving access, they also mined that person’s network—regardless of the fact that they did not have permission.

How much information was collected, who was targeted and how that data was used remains a mystery. What is clear is how a tool meant to connect family and friends, is being used in a way it was not intended for. Which begs the question of whether or not technology is threatening the democratic process. 

“For all the negatives said about social media, what cannot be denied is that it is the greatest tool so far invented to spread awareness of an issue to the masses,” Andrew Selepak, media professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, and Director of the graduate program in social media, said. “Politicians who didn’t have the money or connections of the establishment would never be heard or have the opportunity to win office.” 

It’s true, the internet, followed by social media, is often touted as an equalizer. But what happens when some of these viral social cause campaigns are actually orchestrated to meet the needs of the people who are working to sabotage progress?

Take the “Do So!” movement in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The Great Hack” offers it up as a case study on the topic. The campaign, orchestrated by Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL, targeted young people in the country—a key voter demographic—and encouraged them not to show up at the polls. They labeled it as a sign of resistance against the politics around voting. Young people participated in rallies, YouTube videos promoting the campaign sprung up organically and street art promoting the cause peppered the prime minister’s home.

A Cambridge Analytica executive explains how on Election Day, the Afro-Caribbean youth did what the Do So! campaign wanted. They stayed home and didn’t vote. However, the Indian kids showed up at the polls. Even though they participated in the protests and made their pledge not to vote, they did. Why? The exec explains how they knew this sub-set would not go against the wishes of their parents. They had fun participating in the protests and counterculture, but in the end, their personality profile predicted a certain behavior that was manipulated by Cambridge Analytica to get the election results they wanted.

Even apps like WhatsApp have served to radicalize supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Credit: @xeni / Twitter

According to an in-depth report on Huffington Post, WhatsApp helped spread misinformation about Bolsonaro’s left-wing challenger. WhatsApp, which is used primarily as a text messaging service in the U.S., has a much different purpose in Brazil. A reported 120 million people in the South American country use WhatsApp from everything ranging from text messaging to disseminating news and information in groups.

According to the report on Huffington Post, these groups resembled a pyramid with a small group of influencers at the top creating misinformation intended to go viral and passing it to larger groups to spread the information and serve as an online army.

The most notorious moment from the misinformation campaign on WhatsApp was the attacks on Bolsonaro’s opponent Fernando Haddad. Bolsonaro supporters spread information stating that Haddad openly endorsed homosexual pedophilia. The baseless claim took on a life of its own on WhatsApp reaching such proportions that Haddad’s campaign and reputable news outlets had to reject the notion.

Is this enough to say technology is hurting democracy? Not necessarily.

Credit: @ewarren / Twitter

“Tech is inherently amoral—it doesn’t care about right and wrong—it simply does whatever it’s programmed to do,” Monica Eaton-Cardone, tech expert and COO of Chargebacks911 says. “In the hands of a responsible, egalitarian society that respects individual rights and personal liberties, tech can preserve and enhance our greatest democratic ideals.”

This is perhaps the alarm “The Great Hack” is trying to raise. The tech giants have created an enormous problem where our personal data can be used against us. It’s not a partisan issue. Both sides of the political parties are being duped into fearing and hating people unlike them. The film underlines the damage done to the execution of a free and fair election—stressing it will take years to recover from. 

“The real failure we’ve seen so far in tech is that the pervasive use of propaganda has become a whole new industry,” Alexander M. Kehoe, co-founder of Caveni, says. “While we may have become numb to the propaganda posters that worked on our ancestors, the effectiveness of new strategies—deep fakes, social media bots, convincing fraudulent news sources—is making it incredibly easy to spread misinformation. Tech, like all tools, can hurt or help, depending on who is using it and for what purpose.”

And perhaps this is why Carole Cadwalladr, the journalist who uncovered the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, made an emotional plea to the “gods of Silicon Valley,” in a Ted Talk earlier this year. Her voice cracks as she asks them to consider their role in all of this—and not in just terms of profit.

As to the answer of whether or not this new form of communication is a blessing or curse, Eaton-Cardone said it best.

“Tech is simply a tool, it’s our responsibility to use it wisely.”

READ: The Alarming Issues Raised In ‘The Great Hack’ Will Keep You Up At Night