Facebook’s 10th annual developer conference F8 is all about diversity this year…I mean BIGLY!
First, before the event, held at the San Jose convention center launched, it invited and accepted applications from the tech, development and Facebook community from underrepresented groups. I was one such applicant and I got a scholarship to attend the normally $480 ticket priced event for FREE!
Second, it held a party the day before the conference started today, April 18. JOIN all_voices: A networking event to celebrate diversity at F8.
“F8 is a great opportunity for technical conversations about how developers can better produce high quality experiences for those that use their products,” an invitation to attendees read. “In order to ensure that the growing ecosystem of applications speak to the experiences of all, it is important that we be intentional about promoting the inclusion of a diverse range of communities within the developer community.”
Third, Facebook sent out a release of the diversity of attendees to Tech Crunch, exclusively.
“Of the people who chose to disclose, 28.7% self-identified as women (a 4.9% increase from last st year) and 19.3% self-identified as underrepresented ethnicities in tech (black, Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander), representing a 5.6% increase from last year,” the site notes.
Fourth and finally, Facebook went all out in presenting diversity on stage and in the background on stage.
[Side note: Anthony Bourdain caught some flak recently when it was revealed he had a no White people policy for his Houston episode… I mean despite the fact that several news outlets were able to identify and count on two hands and two feet EVERY SINGLE PERSON of color that appeared on Lena Dunham’s HBO show Girls which supposedly set place in Brooklyn. — pre-gentrification days, it’s pretty hard to imagine that Burrough devoid of people of color— but Alas Hollywood manages to accomplish amazing feats daily. I earnestly think people do not notice the absence of others missing from the formula until they are absent. Then, and only then, do they scream about inequity, unfairness and erasure. Before then, radio silence. To be able to be aloof and benefit from status quo is one heck of a privilege]
I’m not saying that Facebook pulled an Anthony Bourdain, but I saw just One White Male other than Mark Zuckerberg appear on stage or in slides to presentations made on the main stage (per Engadget’s coverage, anyway)
This effort to be overinclusive is not new apparently. As there was an effort last year as well. The All-Voices event is a repeat.
Facebook pushing diversity hard with this F8 2016 announcement. Hasn’t gone unnoticed ?? pic.twitter.com/6zDZ59IJvM
— ??♂️avier Harding (@iamxavier) April 12, 2016
Also. last year, Facebook donated the money to Dev Bootcamp to fund scholarships for 20 people of color and/or women to participate in the 19-week program.
This year, it followed up on that effort by donateing $250,000 worth of F8 proceeds to fund a scholarship program for underrepresented people in tech. This year, Facebook has donated some of the proceeds from F8 to Hack Reactor’s Telegraph Track for underrepresented engineers.
“The F8 donation will fuel the expansion of Telegraph track as we plan to award full-tuition scholarships to 14 underrepresented engineers looking to join our Telegraph Track community,” Hack Reactor Director of Diversity and Inclusion Albrey Brown told TechCrunch in an email.
“F8, in and of itself, is a cross-section not just of Facebook, but of the industry as a whole,” Facebook Diversity Business Partner Kiva Wilson told TechCrunch, who added that Facebook works hard to create an upward trend in diverse representation at F8.
Cause Lord knows while they tried, last year still caught some heat from Twitter users who posted photos like this one:
The diversity of tech on display at F8… pic.twitter.com/b9E5HtUNq0
— ksoukay (@ksoukay) April 15, 2016
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt can be heard nightly at 8pm on DCRadio/WHUR 96.3HD4 on "Coming to America with Wayna and Friends. She is an editor at Techyaya.com, founder of the Digital Publiching Academy and JayJayGhatt.com where she teaches online creators how to navigate digital entrepreneurship and offers Do-It-For-You Blogging Service. She manages her lifestyle sites BellyitchBlog, Jenebaspeaks and JJBraids.com and is the founder of BlackWomenTech.com 200 Black Women in Tech On Twitter. Her biz podcast 10 Minute Podcast is available on iTunes and Player.fm. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks. Buy her templates over at her legal and business templates on Etsy shop!