Twitter’s Engineering Chief Apologizes About Diversity Issues

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Twitter’s headquarters often have a discussion around diversity, and the issue was again taken up after an ex-employee criticized the company executives for not being able to create a diverse workplace. Alex Roetter, top engineering executive at Twitter, was accused of not being able to handle diversity issues aptly.

Lack of diversity getting Twitter in trouble

A few days ago, Leslie Miley, a former engineer, singled out Roetter for suggesting that the firm make use of names for classifying the ethnicity of potential job candidates. “What I also found disconcerting is this otherwise highly sophisticated thinker could posit that an issue this complex could be addressed by name analysis,” Miley wrote.

Miley, who was laid off last month, said a “particularly low moment” came when the engineering chief said that “Diversity is important, but we won’t lower the bar. Following the outrage over Miley’s post, Roetter in a blog post on Thursday night, apologized for “poor job communicating” and agreed on the things that need to be done at Twitter for a change. Roetter said he too realized the fact that the company had “blind spots” and he also has those blind spots.

“One of mine is that I have a tendency to default to engineering-driven, quantitative solutions,” Roetter said. But to address the issues raised by Leslie much more work is needed, the engineer said.

Roetter said he learned a lot this week, and now all of them as a company are working towards addressing their blind spots swiftly to build Twitter into a company where employees and users both feel proud.

Twitter a more diverse platform

Miley’s criticism of Twitter’s workplace culture isn’t the first time the company has had to face a diversity-related issue. Earlier this year, an internal Twitter team hosted a frat-themed party that prompted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to establish actual hiring goals for women and minorities.

Lack of diversity at Twitter can be seen as a big issue, especially if we consider that the micro-blogging firm’s platform is more racially diverse than that of any other social network, including Facebook. Almost 41% of Twitter users are blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. The company has also leveraged the diversity of its users to attract advertisers who want to target such groups.

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