Twitter Pressed on Diversity By Rainbow Push Coalition

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Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is under increasing pressure from various civil rights activists to publicly release the gender and ethnic breakdown of its employees. These civil rights organizations have recently upped the ante in their efforts by using Twitter to create buzz for the campaign.

Both the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and say they will use Twitter as a platform to call on the San Francisco-based Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) to share demographic information about its work force and to publicly share its plans to increase diversity among employees.

A Twitter spokesman said Wednesday that the company had nothing to announce “at this time.”

Statements from civil rights organizations

Jackson is approaching this issue in a direct, but not too confrontational a manner. “We come not to disrupt but to fulfill the promise of social media,” Jackson said in an interview earlier this week.

Jackson’s organization has enjoyed some success in convincing other major Internet companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo to release employee data that prove the technology industry is overwhelming male, white and Asian. But Twitter remains silent, Jackson said.

“It is ironic that Twitter is still resisting releasing this information,” Jackson continued. “We are over-indexed on Twitter as users and we are under-indexed as employees.”

Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange, also criticized Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), arguing the social media giant has a duty to be “transparent and clear with the community that has helped them grow.”

“We are not going to stand by and be silent while Twitter continues to benefit and grow off the creativity, the ideas and the engagement from our community while we are being shut out from the economic growth and opportunities that come with that,” Robinson said.

Twitter under fire for some time

Analysts point out that Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has been criticized for its lack of diversity in the past. For example, among the firm’s 11 senior execs, nine are Caucasian men. Furthermore, there is only one woman on the BoD.

The company added former publishing executive Marjorie Scardino to the board late last year when the lack of women became a contentious issue preceding the firm’s IPO.

The Silicon Valley tech giants did not share their demographics with the public until very recently. Google inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) broke ranks and starting doing so in early summer, pressuring other companies.

Since then, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), LinkedIn Corp (NASDAQ:LNKD) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) have all released data on the ethnic and gender composition of employees, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) have announced they will also release employee demographic data in the near future.

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