Facebook hangs ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign at its headquarters, plus other tech reaction to violent week

Facebook, whose technology has played a big role in the past week’s violent events as American racial issues come to a head, has hung a Black Lives Matter sign outside its Menlo Park headquarters.

Wednesday, a woman used Facebook Live to broadcast the aftermath of the shooting of her boyfriend, Philando Castile, by a police officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota. For nearly 10 minutes, Diamond Reynolds’ video showed millions of viewers Castile bleeding in the car as she and her daughter were taken into custody by police. Castile died at the hospital, just a day after Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police in Louisiana. Cellphone videos of Sterling’s shooting were also widely circulated online, and the Justice Department is investigating the killing. Both men were black.

The next day, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted about Reynolds’ video. Here’s an excerpt:

The images we’ve seen this week are graphic and heartbreaking, and they shine a light on the fear that millions of members of our community live with every day. While I hope we never have to see another video like Diamond’s, it reminds us why coming together to build a more open and connected world is so important — and how far we still have to go.

It didn’t take long for Facebook Live to again be used to broadcast more violence.

The events of the week prompted protests around the country Thursday, and Facebook Live captured an ambush on Dallas police officers that left five of them dead. Authorities say a lone sniper was responsible for the killing of the following officers: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens and Michael Smith. Seven other officers were injured, as were a couple of civilians. Authorities say Micah Xavier Johnson, a black Afghanistan war veteran, told negotiators he was disturbed by police killings of black men and wanted to kill white people, especially white officers. Dallas police say they killed Johnson that night with a bomb after hours of negotiations broke down.

(Updated) Along with hanging up the Black Lives Matter sign Friday, Facebook held a moment of silence, a spokeswoman confirmed. Closeup photos of the sign on show that the letters spell out the names of people who have died. (End update)

Here’s a post from Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, that shows the sign.

Other tech companies and executives weighed in on this week’s events, just as politicians and celebrities did. Here’s a sampling.

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted at first about the killings by police, then about the deaths of the Dallas police officers.

Google tweeted on its company account and mentioned that it held a vigil.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, has tweeted a lot about the subject, including retweeting stories and other people’s thoughts — as well as official tweets from his companies Twitter and Square. Twitter — which has #blacklivesmatter painted on a wall at its San Francisco headquarters — also brought back a custom emoji of a black fist. And Periscope, the live video platform owned by Twitter, also was used to broadcast protests across the country, and the Dallas Police Department’s channel showed press conferences and a prayer service.

The tech companies and executives’ support of Black Lives Matter is controversial — some people see it as taking sides. In February, Zuckerberg chastised Facebook employees for crossing out “black lives matter” written on the walls of the company’s headquarters and replacing it with “all lives matter,” calling the actions “unacceptable” and “malicious.”

The Black Lives Matter movement was started in 2012 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing Trayvon Martin, a black teenager. Since then, it has grown to include myriad issues facing African-Americans in the United States, including police brutality.

On Twitter this week, the tweets by Google and Cook got thousands of retweets and likes, but they also prompted plenty of angry replies. Some people asked Cook to “stop advancing the liberal narrative” and Google to stop “spreading propaganda.”

In addition, the companies’ live-streaming products are complicating questions of censorship — Reynolds’ live video was temporarily taken down by Facebook, which the company attributed to a glitch. When access to the video was restored, it included a warning that it contained graphic content.

HT Fusion.


Photo: Outside Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park in December 2015. (John Green/Bay Area News Group)


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Share this Post

  • 5topAmnesty

    Facebook is getting dangerously close to opening supporting what is now clearly a TERRORIST organization (i.e., Black Lives Matter). This may be fine with the present administration, since it helps his gun control agenda, but they may very well find themselves subject to some SERIOUS INVESTIGATION after President Trump takes office – as he doesn’t support terrorism in any form.

    • Jarhead2

      Hate crimes are being committed in support of black lives matters. Is that okay with our president?

  • AverageBri

    These are great examples of what it means to be a “Useful Idiot.”

    • Chris


    • Jason

      True, but don’t be too hard on yourself.

  • Jarhead2

    MLK also said “To support evil is to become an accomplice to it” Look inward at the community that is condemning outsiders.

  • SaysWho

    People, disconnect immediately and flush Facebook down the toilet.

    • CM

      I would, but I don’t use Facebook to begin with. Please double flush for me.

  • CM

    Sure glad I don’t work for Facebook or any of these tech companies. Other than Apple, they really don’t produce anything useful.(And I’m not an Apple user of anything). Keep your focus on business, not spewing your personal politics.

    • Ricky Reynolds

      So says the idiot using technology that comes from one of “those” companies….idiot

      • Jason

        which technology would that be Ricky?

  • Jerry999

    another ultra left wing Silicon Valley company

  • coakl

    Black Lives Matter worked with the Dallas snipers, marching their people toward the snipers’ nests, knowing that the police would follow.
    That ambush was no accident. It was planned by the BLM terrorists and the snipers.

  • conniesz

    the unbelievable comments on this site make no sense. I’m betting every one is from a white person who has no clue whatsoever what it means to be black in this country.

    • socialismisevil✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      that argument is old and DEFEATED

      you dont have to “walk in anothers shoes” to have sympathy /empathy/common sense etc


      While individuals show how great they can do

      the culture TELLS us
      what they expect from themselves

    • Jason

      I’m betting you are white also. So where does that leave us Connie?

  • Steve F

    That sign will fix everything tho…LOL

    • socialismisevil✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ


      but it will keep BLM from attacking/and/or suing them

      for a while

  • socialismisevil✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ



  • Jason

    Change the black lives matter phrase into Arabic, then add the black power fist and boom! It all become clear. #DomesticTerrorGroup