Twitter only has 49 black employees out of 2,910 staff members in America.
The 35 men and 14 women account for just 1.7 % of the firm’s US operation, which is 93.8% white or Asian. It represents a stark lack of progress since last year, when senior executives promised to boost their number of African American staff from 2 %.
Slamming the figures, released in a compulsory Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) report on Wednesday, Rev Jesse Jackson said people are ‘becoming intolerant’ of the stilted progress.
‘Black people are greater users of the product and capable of doing the jobs, but there has not been an adequate commitment to hire, train and maintain black people,’ the civil rights leader, who is spearheading calls for diversity in tech, told The number of Hispanic employees also fails to reflect the proportion of Latino users, and of America’s Latino population.
27% of black adults use the site, and 25 % of Latinos, compared to 21 % of white users, according to the Pew Research Center.
The Rev Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow/Push Coalition, who has long campaigned for tech companies to be more transparent about their lack of minority employees, told the Guardian that black people are “becoming intolerant” of Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies’ lack of progress in making their offices more diverse.
The stark lack of black employees comes despite the company’s repeated pledges to make its staff better reflect the diversity of its 302 million users and as Twitter actively exploits its large number of minority users to bring in more advertising revenue.
He said that at the moment, Twitter is benefitting from black people’s love of its medium, which often leads to black issues trending worldwide – without paying enough back to the community. “They hire people they know, they trust and like,” Jackson said. “We’re not in that the circle.”
“It appears that the tech companies seem to treat it as a public relations issue rather than addressing the actual problem. African Americans use social media more than others, the corporations continue to build and profit from that, so it is especially problematic that they do not have an employee base that in any way reflects its users. They have really failed on this.”
Despite appearing to do little to increase the diversity of its employees, Twitter is actively exploiting its large number of minority users to secure more advertising dollars. The company has appointed a “multicultural strategist”, Nuria Santamaria, tasked with helping advertisers directly target Twitter’s minority groups.
It comes a month after Rev Jackson slammed Google when figures revealed black people account for just 2 per cent of the tech giant’s workforce.