Facebook has announced some new resources to better support and assist black-owned businesses, as part of the company’s broader effort to address racial inequality in the US.
As explained by Facebook:
“Black-owned businesses have faced systemic barriers for generations – and the huge amount of interest we received from these businesses has confirmed just how enormous the challenges they continue to face really are. That is why we doubled down on investing in and building tools to help this community.”
The main addition is a new option for businesses to identify their Page as a Black or minority-owned business on Facebook, “so anyone who wants to support them can do so easily”.
As you can see here, the new listings will be displayed in the ‘Businesses’ Nearby’ listings in Facebook, providing more ways for users to support the Black community.
“Diverse business categories will be associated with business Pages, not people, and self-designation is completely voluntary – Page admins can choose to skip, edit or remove diverse-owned business information at any time.”
It’s another way for Facebook to facilitate connection, and to promote Black-owned SMBs through exposure within the app.
In addition to this, Facebook has also published a new guide for Black business owners and entrepreneurs, which includes a range of tips and notes to assist in Facebook usage for business promotion.
Facebook has also provided an update on its $200 million funding program for Black-owned businesses, which is now open for applications in the US.
“We know every day counts, so we’re partnering with Accenture and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) to get these grants to Black-owned businesses quickly.”
Facebook has made supporting racial diversity a priority after the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the recent results of Facebook’s own civil rights audit. That audit raised various concerns around Facebook’s approach to diversity initiatives, with a specific focus on its facilitation, and amplification, of racist hate speech. That same concern lead to the Facebook ad boycott in July, with civil rights groups calling on major brands to pause their Facebook ad spend, in order to send a message to the company.
In follow-up meetings, various civil rights leaders said that they felt Facebook was not listening to their concerns, further underlining this as an area in which the company needs to improve.
Facebook is looking to rectify this with its new initiatives, and while issues with its approach to hate speech persist, its support programs may help to improve ties with the Black community, and lead to better outcomes and impacts over time.