Facebook is directly causing minorities and low-income workers to lose their homes in neighborhoods where they’ve lived their whole lives. Facebook, like other billion dollar companies, has created a housing crisis in its own backyard. (Not to mention the fact that Facebook is contributing to poverty plaguing adjacent neighborhoods and inequality.)
Couching itself as a company of “do-gooder innovators creating transformative technology,” it is literally transforming neighborhoods into unaffordable areas where most people can no longer afford to live.
The Guardian reports:
Silicon Valley tech firms have worsened inequality, and data shows the area has lost affordable units at alarming rates. Recently, there have been numerous mass evictions and threats of widespread displacement near tech corporations.
In December 2011, after Facebook moved to Menlo Park, one property owner acquired 40 percent of the city’s entire rental housing and the new landlord issued numerous eviction notices according to city records. Also according to records, between 2011 and 2015, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in East Palo Alto increased by 89 percent.
The Guardian adds that several northern California advocates are pressuring Facebook to make “substantial investments in affordable housing as the powerful social networking company pushes forward with a major expansion that experts say will drive up housing prices and exacerbate income inequality in the center of the booming tech economy.”
One of whom is Tameeka Bennett who was forced to move to Oakland because her family couldn’t find affordable housing. To Facebook she says:
“You are directly displacing families.”
Another young native, Caprice Powell told The Guardian that her entire family was also priced out of East Palo Alto. In order to survive, she lived with four other people, crammed into a two-bedroom apartment. Now, she’s leaving California altogether:
“It feels like East Palo Alto is not our home any more.
“Facebook is coming in and bringing along all these rich folks … They’re able to afford our housing, because it’s nothing to them.”
Here are questions for “progressive” tech leader Mark Zuckerberg:
- Isn’t it unfair to ask low-wage workers to move and bear the financial costs of global corporation expansion in Silicon Valley?
- Wouldn’t it be “fair” for Facebook to buy and donate free housing to low-income workers so they wouldn’t have to move and/or commute 40-60 minutes each way to work?
- If not, why isn’t Facebook providing financial incentives and assistance to local residents?