Facebook, Snapchat join chorus of companies condemning George Floyd death, racism

Facebook, Snapchat join chorus of companies condemning George Floyd death, racism

Protesters rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of Floyd, in New York City
A pile of burning garbage set by demonstrators is seen during looting after marching against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

MENLO PARK, California: Facebook and Snapchat developer Snap became the latest US companies condemning racial inequality in the United States as violent protests flared up across major cities over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

The two tech companies followed Intel, Netflix, Alphabet's Google, International Business Machines and Nike in taking a public stance against Floyd's death - calling out discrimination against African-Americans.

But tech companies such as Facebook and Google for years have struggled to quell concerns about discrimination against African-Americans in their own workplaces, and black engineers remain underrepresented in their workforces relative to the US population.

READ: Independent autopsy finds George Floyd died by asphyxiation, homicide

The challenges are not expected to ease as the novel coronavirus pandemic forces the companies to slow hiring and work remotely for months to come.

Facebook employees on Monday urged Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to take stronger action against an inflammatory post last week by US President Donald Trump about the Minneapolis protests.

But Zuckerberg already said in a Friday post that Facebook would not take action on the post. He said Facebook will commit US$10 million to organisations working on racial justice.

Floyd's death has renewed outrage across the US on the treatment of African-Americans by authorities, polarising the country politically and racially.

READ: Trump says to send 'thousands' of troops, police to US capital's streets

"We cannot end systemic racism without simultaneously creating opportunity for all people, regardless of their background," Snap Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel told employees in an email criticising racism and calling for increased taxes "to create a society that benefits all of us".

Twitter, which last week was at the centre of a fight with Trump over its actions on his tweets, including a warning over one about the protests, added the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter to its account bio on the site. 

The US Google and YouTube homepages bore a notice saying they stood in support of racial equality.

On Friday, Nike flipped its iconic slogan to raise awareness about racism.

"For Once, Don't Do It. Don't pretend there's not a problem in America. Don't turn your back on racism," the company said in a video that has over six million views on Twitter and was shared by celebrities and rival Adidas AG .

Source: Reuters/hs/nc

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