Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday that the social media giant is committing $200 million to support black businesses and organizations.
“We’ve been speaking with Black business owners to understand how we can best support them, and in the short term, we’ve heard that financial support can go a long way, especially during a pandemic and economic downturn that have disproportionately impacted communities of color,” Zuckerberg said.
Facebook has come under severe criticism for refusing to take down Donald Trump’s post encouraging shooting of protesters of racial injustice in the United States. Though Zuckerberg repeatedly tried to explain that the post didn’t violate any Facebook policy, it didn’t quell the backlash. Many are beginning to see the social media platform as pro right-wing, an identity Zuckerberg doesn’t want to reckon with, and he is trying desperately to right the seeming wrong.
On Wednesday, Facebook removed some ads featuring a large inverted red triangle associated with the Nazis. Trump and the pro right-wing have used the symbol in the smear campaign against antifa and “far-left mobs” who he claimed are destroying American cities.
The ads were posted on Team Trump and Mike Pence’s pages as part of a campaign to defame antifa, an antifascist organization fighting right-wing oppression. Trump had earlier threatened to declare them a terrorist organization for their activism.
A Facebook spokesman told the Independent that the ads were removed because it violated the company’s policy against organized hate.
“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate. Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,” he said.
But it is believed to have been removed as a result of intense criticism that Facebook has been subjected to recently, as some of the ads remained online for more than a day and recorded thousands of impressions.
Zuckerberg said the social media giants plan to give $1 billion to Black-owned businesses and cause from now to 2021.
“We’re building on our COVID-19 grant program and making an additional $100 million in cash and ad credits available to support Black-owned businesses, creators and non-profits serving Black communities in the US. To make sure we are supporting the community in our own business practices, we’re also committing to spend at least $100 million with Black-owned suppliers, part of a goal to spend $1 billion with diverse suppliers next year and every year thereafter,” he said.
Many see the gesture as a way of trying to make amends for allowing Facebook to be used in promotion of racial hatred.
On the other hand, Google has also rolled out plans backed up with over $175 million divided into segments to support many aspects of Blacks’ welfare. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai released a note on Wednesday, outlining the plan.
Google will spend over $175 million on racial equity efforts, including financing Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, says CEO Sundar Pichai. As demonstrations for racial justice take place across the country, the search giant also announced plans to increase its proportion of “leadership representation of underrepresented groups” by 30% by 2025. The move comes after Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin pledged $40 million each to Spelman College, Morehouse College and the United Negro College Fund in the biggest-ever individual donation to the historically Black institutions.
“As a company, and as individuals who came here to build helpful products for everyone, Google commits to translating the energy of this moment into lasting, meaningful change. Today we are announcing a set of concrete commitments to move that work forward; internally, to build sustainable equity for Google’s Black+ community, and externally, to make our products and programs helpful in the moments that matter most to Black users,” the note said partly.
Pichai said part of the plan will be to improve Black+ representation at senior levels and committing to a goal to improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups by 30 percent by 2025.
‘$100 million is dedicated in funding participation in Black-led capital firms, startups and organizations supporting Black entrepreneurs, which includes increased investments in Plexo Capital and non-dilutive funding to Black founders in the Google for startups network.’
‘$50 million is for financing and grants for small businesses, focused on the Black community and in partnership with Opportunity Finance Network.
‘$15 million is for training, through partners like the National Urban League, to help Black Jobseekers grow their skills.’
‘$10 million+ is to help improve the Black community’s access to education, equipment and economic opportunities in our developer ecosystem, and increase equity, representation and inclusion across our developer platforms, including Android, Chrome, Flutter, Firebase, Google play and more.’
Pichai said that in addition to these grants, Google will continue to support racial justice organizations. Google had earlier pledged $32 million in support of criminal justice reform, but said it would make additional $12 million to advance the cause.