Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on Thursday announced a series of new steps the social media giant is taking to address racial inequality, including a $200 million commitment to Black-owned businesses and organizations.
The financial commitment, $100 million of which comes on top of a previously announced $1 billion annual investment in "diverse suppliers," is among the most substantial to come from corporate America since the death of George Floyd on May 25 sparked protests across the country over racial injustice.
Facebook will also expand its free Elevate work training program to reach 1 million Black people over the next three years; give 100,000 scholarships to Black students working toward digital skills certification; and launch a new Facebook feature, Lift Black Voices, promoting Black voices.
"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 Thursday. "We have shared words of support for our friends, colleagues and communities. We need to take action as well."
Facebook will commit $25 million to Black content creators and $75 million to Black-owned businesses and organizations in the form of direct grants and advertising credits, which businesses can use for ad space on Facebook.
The social media giant has also pledged to spend at least $100 million annually with Black-owned suppliers, "from facilities to construction to marketing agencies and more," as part of a larger commitment to spend $1 billion annually on diverse suppliers.
The new feature Lift Black Voices will "highlight stories from Black people, share educational resources, and inspire people to take action through fundraising for racial justice causes," Sandberg said.
These efforts come at a time when the company is facing pressure from civil rights groups that say Facebook has not done enough to reduce hate speech and misinformation on its platform.
On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP began asking big advertisers to boycott Facebook for the month of July in protest of the company's content policies. No large advertisers have agreed to participate yet, as of Thursday.
In making her announcement, Sandberg said that "achieving racial justice and equity is a goal all of us share – and a goal that will take real work to achieve. This is just the start of how we plan to help in this fight."
"We’ll continue to listen and take action to support the long-term success of the Black community," she said.