How Netflix, Instagram, and other tech and social media platforms are responding to the #BLM movement
It has been more than a week since George Floyd died at the hands (and knee) of police officers in Minneapolis. Since then, #BlackLivesMatters protests are being held in many cities across the United States as well as in other parts of the world. Auckland, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen are among a plethora of cities standing in solidarity and supporting the movement.
It’s time to come together and not stay silent any longer. Working towards eradicating racism and discrimination is a global effort but we need to start local. That includes speaking to your relatives, your friends, your parents, and anyone around you who needs to know better.
Companies and brands with massive influence and platforms are also required to do their parts. Many fashion and beauty brands have shown their support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement and ongoing protests. A myriad of celebrities have also done the same. How about major tech and social media companies? Let’s have a look.
As one of the most influential platforms around, YouTube’s voice is necessary. In addition to pledging $1 million (approximately RM4,316,920) in support of efforts to address social injustice, the company has also changed its profile image (typically red) to reflect the ongoing situation.
In addition to that, Sundar Pichai (CEO of Google, YouTube’s parent company) announced that the homepages of both YouTube and Google will be updated with a black ribbon—”in memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others who don’t have a voice”.
The company has provided a range of tips and resources to assist people with understanding the situation better. Moreover, their new profile image is also a reflection of what’s going on in the United States. Under the thread, you will be able find useful resources such as Ibram X’s How To Be An Racist.
“Now is a time to take care—and take action. At Twitter, our principles of allyship are simple: Learn, Ask, Show Up, and Speak Up. Now is a time for #Allyship. Do your research. To practice allyship, it’s important to first understand the historical and structural contexts that have led to racism and discrimination that are so ingrained in society”, the company tweeted.
In a post by Mark Zuckerberg on the platform, he said that Facebook stands “with the Black community—and all those working towards justice in honour of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others whose names will not be forgotten”.
To help groups working on racial justice, Facebook is committing an additional $10 million (approximately RM43,169,200) and will be working with civil rights advisors and employees to identify organisations locally and nationally.
“We hear you, we see you, and we are with you. We stand against racism. We stand with our Black community—and all those working towards justice in honour of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others whose names will not be forgotten. Time and time again, we have seen that the Instagram community has the power to bring about meaningful change. The more we #ShareBlackStories, the more we raise voices that make a lasting impact”, the company said.
Instagram has also reimagined its logo in black to reflect the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap, addressed the movement in an internal memo.
“Some of you have asked about whether Snap will contribute to organisations that support equality and justice. The answer is yes. But in my experience, philanthropy is simply unable to make more than a dent in the grave injustices we face. While our family has and will continue to contribute meaningfully to create opportunity for the underprivileged, and donate to the guardians of justice, these circumstances call for a more radical reorganisation of our society”, he said in the memo.
He also mentioned that Snapchat will not promote racism, violence, and injustice on its platform.
“We stand with the Black community and are proud to provide a platform where #blacklivesmatter and #georgefloyd generate powerful and important content with over one billion views”, said the company on its flagship account.
Moreover, CEO Kevin Mayer also had a thing or two to say about the protests and movement. “Diversity is our strength. As a society, as an organisation, as a platform. As I begin my work at TikTok, it has never been a more important time to support Black employees, users, creators, artists, and our broader community”, he mentioned in a video on the app’s official profile.
In honour of TikTok’s Black creators, the company will be donating $3 million (approximately RM12,950,800) from our Community Relief Fund to non-profits that help the Black community.
Netflix’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement is short but powerful—urging society to take a stand instead of keeping quiet.
In addition to changing its Twitter name to #BlackLivesMatter, HBO also tweeted a quote by American novelist and activist James Baldwin.
“Together we stand with the Black community—colleagues, artists, writers, storytellers, producers, our viewers—and all allies in the fight against racism and injustice”, the company said on Instagram and Twitter.
The video live streaming service said: “Black people have been suffering under the oppressive weight of racism in America for far too long. We cannot delight in the creative contributions of the Black community on Twitch and remain silent while they are in pain. We’re asking you to come together to and stand up for Black lives whether it’s through your time, treasure, or talent. Don’t let today’s injustice stop us from creating a better tomorrow for our community”.
In an internal memo, Tim Cook urged everyone to “stand up for one another, and recognise the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism”. He added that the company will be “making donations to a number of groups, including the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit committed to challenging racial injustice, ending mass incarceration, and protecting the human rights of the most vulnerable people in American society”.
Moreover, Apple will be matching two-for-one all employee donations via Benevity for the month of June.
CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft will continue to be “investing in partnerships and programs, working to drive reforms, focusing on policing”. She also said that the company has to understand they are “better, smarter, and stronger when” when “the voices, the actions of all communities” are considered.
These statements of support by giant tech and social media companies are definitely important and crucial—especially with their massive influences and power. However, it is also up to us, as human beings, to take action. Look for resources, educate ourselves, and donate to relevant charities and funds. The George Floyd Memorial Fund is one of many you can support. Remember that racism is never acceptable, whether you’re in Malaysia or anywhere else. Completely eradicating racial injustice will take a village but enough is enough. #BlackLiveMatters!
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