Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

HC Wake-Up Call: Former Employee Says Facebook Has a Black People Problem, Trump Threatens to Cut GM Subsidies & Trump Admin Asks Court to Enforce Asylum Restrictions

Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Former Facebook Employee Says the Social Media Giant Has a “Black People Problem”

In a 2,500 word internal memo released publicly on Tuesday, former Facebook employee Mark Luckie says racial discrimination is very real at the social media giant’s Silicon Valley campus and on its platform. “Facebook has a black people problem,” Luckie wrote.

Luckie, who, according to Buzzfeed News, served as a strategic partner manager for global influencers, focusing on underrepresented voices, shared the memo with Facebook management and employees earlier this month. In it he writes that the lack of representation of black people and their inability to speak up for themselves directly affects how black people are treated on the platform.

“I wish I didn’t have to write it. I was determined to stay there and build,” Luckie told USA TODAY in an interview Tuesday. “I had to write what all the black employees are saying and feeling and we don’t feel empowered to speak up about.”

“I know from being inside Facebook that Facebook doesn’t take any action against the bad things that it has done unless it’s held publicly accountable,” Luckie added. “I don’t want to say I felt a responsibility, but I guess I felt an ability to speak on behalf of all of these black employees.”

In his memo, Luckie says that Facebook’s diversity and inclusion efforts are shallow. “It is not enough to simply hire people to focus on diversity,” Luckie wrote. “Everyone on teams whose work focuses on varied cultural backgrounds should be responsible for ensuring the outcome of their work is representative of those groups,” adding that black employees often felt compelled to “volunteer their input for projects that involve race in some way.”

Luckie describes the isolation that he and other fellow employees felt. “In some buildings, there are more ‘Black Lives Matter’ posters than there are actual black people,” he wrote. “Black employees are commonly told ‘I didn’t know black people worked at Facebook.’”

He adds that black employees were called “hostile or aggressive” by managers for sharing their thoughts, with some employees being dissuaded by managers from being involved with internal group for black employees or from doing “black stuff,” USA TODAY reports.

Employees recounted times where they were “aggressively accosted” by campus security, and that numerous times each day, a Facebook employee would clutch their wallet tight when walking past Luckie.

Luckie describes his frustrations with how the social media platform “disenfranchises” its black users. “Their content is removed without notice. Accounts are suspended indefinitely despite them often not violating Facebook’s terms of service,” he said of when individuals report Black Lives Matter pages or other pages as hate speech.  

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison  said, “Over the last few years, we’ve been working diligently to increase the range of perspectives among those who build our products and serve the people who use them throughout the world. The growth in representation of people from more diverse groups, working in many different functions across the company, is a key driver of our ability to succeed. We want to fully support all employees when there are issues reported and when there may be micro-behaviors that add up. We are going to keep doing all we can to be a truly inclusive company.”

Luckie noted that he believes Facebook has the ability to “positively impact the world,” but he has “lost the will and the desire to advocate on behalf of Facebook.”

President Trump Considering Cutting GM Subsidies After Layoff & Plant Closure Announcement

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he is considering cutting off government subsidies in response to General Motors’ announcement that it will be closing down North American plants and eliminating thousands of jobs.

“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including….” Trump wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

“….for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!” The president added in a subsequent tweet.

On Monday, GM announced that it would be eliminating 15 percent of its global workforce and streamlining its production by getting rid of models that are unpopular, ABC News. As a result, GM said it would be closing the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Detroit, Warren Transmission Operations in Warren, Michigan, Lordstown Assembly in Warren, Ohio and Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Maryland.

According to ABC News, the auto industry has experienced slowing sales, and the trade tensions and tariffs have also disrupted the industry with GM hit with a $1 billion loss because of trade practices.

“GM is committed to maintaining a strong manufacturing presence in the U.S., as evidenced by our more than $22 billion investments in U.S. operations since 2009. Many of the U.S. workers impacted by these actions will have the opportunity to shift to other GM plants where we will need more employees to support growth in trucks, crossovers and SUVs,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

During a White House news briefing Tuesday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said, prior to the president’s tweet, that the administration was “going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others, whether they should apply or not,” Politico reports.

“I can’t say anything final about that, but we’re looking into it,” Kudlow added. “Again, that reflects the president’s own disappointment.”

According to Politico, the U.S. offers a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 per new electric vehicle. The subsidy is only available for the first 200,000 cars produced, and GM is already close to the mark. However, GM is a part of a coalition that was formed earlier this month that is lobbying to expand that subsidy.  

President Trump Admin Asks Court to Enforce New Asylum Restrictions

The Justice Department asked a federal judge in San Francisco late Tuesday to lift his order that blocks the Trump administration from enforcing new, tougher rules on asylum.

If the judge does not lift his order by Wednesday, the administration said it would turn to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the judge’s order, according to NBC News.

In the court filing, the government said the judge undermined the president’s effort to have the immigrants in the caravan passing through Mexico to the United States from following the U.S.’ laws, adding that the migrants “rather than properly presenting themselves at a border port of entry, violate our criminal law and endanger themselves by crossing illegally into the country, as events have amply demonstrated.”

The court filing said that a total of 396,579 immigrants were apprehended after illegally crossing the border over the past year. “The executive branch is entitled to use every legal tool available to halt this dangerous and illegal practice,” the filing said.

President Trump signed a proclamation on November 9th ordering the government to stop considering asylum requests from individuals who crossed the U.S. southern border illegally. After an immigrant rights group sued, Federal District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar ordered the Trump administration to not enforce the new rules. Tigar ruled that Trump’s order violated a pre-existing U.S. law that requires the government to consider all asylum requests of all individuals that enter the U.S. despite how they enter the country, NBC News reports.

“He may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote.

What to look out for…

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s A Legendary Christmas airs tonight, November 28th, on NBC!

Emily Veith was previously the Branded Content Copywriter at Her Campus, where she works to create fun and engaging native editorial and social content. Emily has also authored political articles for Restless Magazine and numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. When she isn't writing, she can be found flying off to her next adventure, attempting new recipes, listening to one of her infinite playlists on Spotify, or cuddling with her dogs. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @emilycveith.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️