- Facebook announced it has hired a new vice president of civil rights, the first person to hold that role at the company.
- The company hired Roy L. Austin Jr., a civil rights lawyer with over 25 years of experience who previously worked with the Obama administration.
- "I am excited to join Facebook at this moment when there is a national and global awakening happening around civil rights," Austin said in a statement.
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Facebook has hired its first-ever vice president of civil rights, the company announced on Monday.
The appointment makes good on a promise Facebook made in July last year when it announced it would be hiring a civil rights lead. Austin's title is vice president of civil rights and deputy general counsel.
He will officially start at Facebook on January 19 and will be based in Washington DC.
The company said in a press release that Austin would establish the company's new civil rights organization, which it described as "an incredibly important role for Facebook and for the tech industry."
"I am excited to join Facebook at this moment when there is a national and global awakening happening around civil rights," Austin said in a statement. "Technology plays a role in nearly every part of our lives, and it's important that it be used to overcome the historic discrimination and hate which so many underrepresented groups have faced, rather than to exacerbate it."
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Austin has over 25 years of experience as a civil rights lawyer, and from 2014 to 2017 worked as part of the Obama administration in the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity, per Facebook's press release.
Facebook faced huge employee outrage over how it handled civil rights issues last year. The company refused to take action against a post from President Trump in May. Trump's post on Facebook included the line, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," in response to the heated protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd Facebook's decision to leave the post untouched provoked intense employee and public backlash.
Last week Facebook indefinitely suspended Donald Trump from its platforms until at least the end of his presidency after pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol and the president released a video failing to condone their actions, saying "We love you, you're very special."
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