Social media platforms have enabled people across the world to have their voices heard. For instance, Facebook Live was the tool that helped broadcast the graphic death of Philando Castile. The recent violence in the United States has prompted major tech companies to use their stature to make a statement.
Twitter, which has become the premier platform for many Black Lives Matter activists, posted statements against systemic racial injustice from both its official account and its employee resource group account Blackbirds.
We’re sick of seeing names trend because they were killed brutally and unjustly. We demand change. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/uWjwigAm03— Blackbirds (@blackbirds) July 8, 2016
At their headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Facebook erected a Black Lives Matter sign which spells out the names of those who have been slain at the hands of the police. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has taken a strong verbal stance on the side of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Still, words of encouragement and support will only do so much to bring about racial justice to the United States. Others have gone as far to call the public statements of suppport opportunistic.
Former Facebook engineer Justin Edmund criticized this in a recent post on Medium, writing, “Silicon Valley doesn’t care about Black people. It stands out just how mute Silicon Valley is when it comes to unarmed Black people being shot and killed by cops.”
Google tweeted messages of concern about the police killings, and support for Black Lives Matter while Apple CEO Tim Cook referred to the killings as “senseless”.
Spotify launched a special Dr Martin Luther King-themed playlist, while Uber added peace signs rather than the standard car icons to their apps urging users to take “1 minute to reflect on gun violence” while waiting for their ride.
So while tech companies can make aggressive statements that they support Black Lives Matter, it seems actions speak louder than words.