Amazon tweeted an extraordinary statement in support of George Floyd protesters
- As protests over George Floyd's death turned to riots across the country, Amazon offered an extraordinary show of support for the protesters and the Black community.
- The Seattle retail and cloud giant tweeted out a statement that point-blank said that "inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop."
- Should Amazon decide to put its weight behind such a message, it could be a game-changer, given that Amazon has itself faced criticism of its treatment of its warehouse and Whole Foods workers, and the sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies.
- Amazon is not the only tech company issuing statements in support of the Black community. The tech giant joins Twitter, Microsoft and others in making similar calls.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
As protests across the nation rage for days after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck, support for the protestors are coming from some of the most extraordinary corners of the tech world.
Amazon has followed Twitter's lead and tweeted out a strongly worded message of support for those people who are protesting. It says:
"The inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country must stop. Together we stand in solidarity with the Black community - our employees, customers, and partners - in the fight against systematic racism and injustice."
This tweet is extradinary for a host of reasons. For one, Amazon has had its own struggles with allegations of unjust treatment of employees, particularly its warehouse employees. The company has even fired a number of people who were protesting how the company was treating employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, but is now posting a blog where it updates daily the steps it is taking to protect employees at Amazon warehouses and its Whole Foods stores.
Amazon Web Services has also been accused of selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies even though facial recognition tech does a far poorer job recognising non-white faces, according to various studies. The concern is facial recognition could jeopardise the civil liberties of people who are misidentified. Amazon has criticised those studies, alleging that the technology was misconfigured.
So, Amazon's unequivocal statement of support for the Black community is particularly meaningful, particularly if Amazon begins with its own house and then throws its massive resources behind efforts to help police department solve the problem.
Certainly, Amazon is not the only tech company tweeting out support of the Black community in the past couple of days. Twitter changed its logo, added a link to #BlackLivesMatter to its accounts and tweeted out a string of "take action" advice that began with this statement: "The recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd, and the victimisation of Christian Cooper has left many of us angry, and with a deep sense of grief, but it doesn't compare to what Black and Brown people face every day. #SayTheirNames
Racism does not adhere to social distancing.
Amid the already growing fear and uncertainty around the pandemic, this week has again brought attention to something perhaps more pervasive: the long-standing racism and injustices faced by Black and Brown people on a daily basis. ?? pic.twitter.com/8zKPlDnacY — Twitter Together (@TwitterTogether) May 29, 2020
Microsoft also tweeted out the link to a speech by CEO Satya Nadella last week in which he addressed the situation and pointed out that Microsoft is working with "the Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, investing in partnerships and programs, working to drive reforms, focusing on policing," he said.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Box CEO Aaron Levie also tweeted his disgust "Enough is enough." He and Joelle Emerson, founder CEO of Paradigm, have committed $500,000 (R8 million) to support organisations trying to solve the problem. Nike has also tweeted its support, just to name a few more examples.
Amazon could not be immediately reached for comment.
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