Workforce diversity figures released by Twitter on Wednesday drew criticism from some who say that, like many technology companies, the San Francisco-based social media firm is too white and male.
Twitter is the latest among Silicon Valley tech giants like Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Facebook to release detailed demographics about their employees.
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A black-advocacy group called Color of Change and the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition campaigned in recent weeks for the release of the statistics after a series of private meetings with company executives, and also launched a Twitter based component last week, MotherJones.com reported
Upon the release of the figures, it was revealed that African-Americans comprised 2 percent of the overall Twitter workforce in the U.S., while Hispanics and Latinos made up 3 percent, Asians made up 29 percent, and whites 59 percent.
Women made up roughly 30 percent of Twitter's workforce across the globe.
"We are keenly aware that Twitter is part of an industry that is marked by dramatic imbalances in diversity — and we are no exception," Janet Van Huysse, Twitter's vice president of diversity and inclusion, wrote in the release on the company's blog and Twitter timeline.
In a response to the data release, Jackson released a statement.
"Over 25,000 petitions were delivered to Twitter this past weekend demanding that they release their workforce data," he began. "While slow to release these paltry and pathetic numbers, it’s a step in the right direction. Now it’s time to set goals, targets, and timetables — to partner with African-Americans, Latinos, and people of color in 'fair trade.'"
Van Huysse noted that Twitter has been actively promoting many efforts to correct the perceived imbalance, including programs to teach women how to program computers, and internal training sessions about racial and gender bias.
The San Francisco Examiner pointed out
that missing from the report were statistics about Twitter's age demographics, which are pertinent in light of a lawsuit filed against the company July 9. Former employee Peter Taylor, 57, alleges age discrimination in the suit, saying he was fired without explanation.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said statistics on his Cupertino-based company would be made available soon.
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