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Facebook pledges $200 million investment in black-owned businesses and organizations

Facebook pledges $200 million investment in black-owned businesses and organizations
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Facebook pledged Thursday to invest $200 million in black-owned businesses and organizations.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg made the announcement as part of a series of new steps the social media company is pushing to address racial inequality in the U.S., Facebook said in a press release.

The company previously declared a $1 billion annual investment into "diverse suppliers," which ranked as one of the most substantial in the U.S. since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, which resulted in national protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

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"The past few weeks have compelled us to confront the reality of violence and injustice which members of the Black community face on a daily basis," Sandberg said. "We have shared words of support for our friends, colleagues and communities. We need to take action as well."

As part of the announcement, Facebook will commit to expanding its free Elevate work-training program to at least 1 million black people within the next three years.

The company additionally plans 100,000 scholarships to black students on track to attain their digital skills certification, as well as the launch of a new Facebook feature entitled Lift Black Voices.  

The new feature will highlight stories from black people, provide educational resources and offer inspirational content about ways for people to take action through fundraising to tackle racial injustice.

The company also pledged to further diversify its workforce, committing to have 50 percent of its staff be from underrepresented communities by the end of 2023.

The tech giant's announcements follow calls from the NAACP and other civil rights organizations this week, claiming that Facebook was previously not doing enough to make the platform less hostile against racial injustices.

On Wednesday, several civil rights organizations launched a campaign boycotting Facebook as the company "remains unwilling to take significant steps to remove political propaganda from its platform," Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, said in a statement.

The Hill has reached out to the NAACP for a response about Facebook's pledge on Thursday.