Hillary Clinton discusses diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley

 Speaking at the PBWC Conference in San Francisco today, Hillary Clinton called on Silicon Valley to improve diversity and inclusion, particularly by introducing paid parental leave policies. Clinton mentioned Uber and its recent sexual harassment scandal as an example of a company struggling with inclusion, and cited Salesforce as a company making positive strides on equal pay. “It’s… Read More

Everything we know so far about Uber’s sexual harassment scandal

uber-everywhere Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti’s story of sexual harassment and HR complicity at the company has drawn a lot of attention from the outside world as many relate to her frustrations and the broader systemic culture of sexism that manifests itself across the tech industry. In the days since Rigetti published her account, decisions have been made both inside and outside of… Read More

Uber female engineers to Travis: ‘there’s a systemic problem with sexism here’

kalanick13 Following accusations of sexism being ingrained into the culture of ride-hailing company Uber, after a female ex-employ detailed her experience in a blog post earlier this week, CEO Travis Kalanick held a meeting yesterday with a group of 100+ Uber female engineers to listen to their concerns — and was told in clear terms the company has a systemic problem with sexism. Read More

The silver lining to all the bad news around diversity in U.S. tech

diversity This week the World Economic Forum released its Global Gender Gap report, which shows that the global workplace gender gap has grown bigger over the past year. Sheryl Sandberg writes “the number of women pursuing degrees in computer science is dropping,” and USA Today reported that in the U.S., female participation in the computing and tech workforce will shrink even further, from… Read More

Is machine learning sexist?

Neurons and neural system We’ve been hearing a lot about diversity and inclusion recently. One of the areas that people are excited about is applying machine learning to eliminate bias. Done right, this can be a huge boost supporting our efforts to go beyond bias across all areas of the organization. But there are potential pitfalls; if not done right, machine learning can actually make your business more biased. Read More

Twitter forms Trust and Safety Council amid concerns it has become a cesspool of hateful trolls

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As Twitter has faced a crescendo of complaints that its platform has become a refuge for hate-spewing-violence-threatening-female-harassing trolls, the company today announced a plan to create a committee to talk about the problem.

The newly-formed “Trust and Safety Council” is composed of representatives from “40 organizations and experts from 13 regions” whose ranks include safety advocates, academics, grassroots organizations, and community groups that help prevent “abuse, harassment, and bullying, as well as mental health and suicide prevention.”

The goal: Help Twitter strike a better balance between its lofty free speech ideals, and the growing wave of abusive behavior that threatens its reputation.

“The volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power,” wrote Patricia Cartes, Twitter’s head of global policy outreach in a blog post. “It requires a multi-layered approach where each of our 320 million users has a part to play, as do the community of experts working for safety and free expression.”

In a very general sense, Twitter says this group will help “us tap into the expertise and input of organizations at the intersection of these issues more efficiently and quickly.” The group’s new webpage also includes instructions on how to report abusive behavior to Twitter, and if necessary, the police.

The new council is the latest initiative under CEO Jack Dorsey to address some festering issues related to Twitter’s product and business. In particular, the concerns about threatening language have been drawing unwanted attention to a service that needs to sell itself as a safe, effective haven for advertisers.

Most notably, the Gamergate community used the Twitter platform to launch campaigns of harassment against women programmers in the gaming community. Notable celebrities such as Lena Dunham temporarily stopped using Twitter, complaining of abuse.

“I don’t look at Twitter anymore. I tweet, but I do it through someone else,” she told Kara Swisher on the podcast Re/code Decode podcast. “I really appreciate that anybody follows me at all, and so I didn’t want to cut off my relationship to it completely, but it really, truly wasn’t a safe space for me.”

Women, Action & Media even started a Twitter Reporting Project to study the problem on Twitter and propose remedies. Twitter cooperated with the project, which ran through the end of 2014. But apparently, it wasn’t enough.

Hopefully, this effort, with a broader range of groups will have a bigger impact. As the company struggles to attract and retain users, it can’t afford too many more hits to its reputation.

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