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Hootsuite reverses after criticism of contract with ICE

Hootsuite reverses after criticism of contract with ICE
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The social media platform Hootsuite said Thursday it will no longer do business with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after an employee tweeted that the company signed a three-year contract with the immigration enforcement agency. 

Hootsuite CEO Tom Keiser said in a statement Thursday the contract was based on “objective guidelines” but that the backlash “spurred additional dialogue.”

“We have heard the lived experiences from our people and the hurt they are feeling. The decision has created a divided company, and this is not the kind of company I came to lead. I—and the rest of the management team—share concerns our people have expressed,” Keiser said.  “As a result, we have decided not to proceed with the deal with ICE.”

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The Vancouver-based company tweeted a separate statement earlier in the day saying: “We typically do not make public facing statements about specific customers or contracts. However, due to the attention around this particular case we can confirm that Hootsuite has decided not to do business with the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.” 

The termination of the 12-month $508,832 contract signed on Sept. 18 is not yet been reflected in public records.

Sam Anderson, a senior training specialist at Hootsuite, tweeted Wednesday that Hootsuite signed the deal with ICE, sparking outrage on social media.

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“ICE’s repeated human rights violations are, to put it lightly, seriously at odds with our publicly stated values around DE&I, the Movement for Black Lives, and our purpose to champion the power of human connection,” Anderson tweeted. 

“Even more heartbreaking is that multiple members of our Mexico City support team have relayed their personal experiences being targeted and harassed by ICE and our leadership team chose to push this deal through anyway,” Anderson added.

Several social media managers announced they would reconsider using Hootsuite, and a petition for the company to drop their contract reaching more than 600 signatures by Thursday.