It’s been a long, tragic week. On Tuesday, an officer shot and killed Alton Sterling in Louisiana while he was being held down. Then on Wednesday, Facebook Live captured the death of Philando Castile in Minnesota, who was shot by police during a traffic stop. During a peaceful protest in Dallas on Thursday over those killings, a sniper killed multiple police officers and injured others. To end the week, on Friday, Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters put up a giant sign declaring that “Black Lives Matter” and held a moment of silence for the people who had died.
A close-up of the sign shows that the words are formed from individuals’ names, including Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Kimani Gray, Renisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell, and Amadou Diallo.
Facebook has had Black Lives Matter posters around its campus and in multiple offices around the world for awhile. (Zuckerberg has before condemned employees for defacing “Black Lives Matter” messages written on the walls of its HQ, replacing them with “All Lives Matter.”) But this large sign in the middle of Facebook’s campus appears to have been put up just this morning. Here’s what this area of the campus looked like earlier in the day, via a photo posted in the morning:
Facebook has played a major role in capturing evidence and disseminating fury in the recent glut of police-involved violence. After a police officer shot Castile, his fiance Diamond Reynolds went live on Facebook with damning footage of the aftermath. The video has since racked up more than 5 million views. (Facebook briefly took the video down late Wednesday night due to what it called a “glitch.”)
The next day, Thursday, users again turned to Facebook Live to broadcast footage from a protest in Dallas, that captured sounds of gunfire when a sniper shot multiple people, leaving five police officers dead.
In the aftermath of Castile’s death, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg heralded the power of Facebook Live.
“The images we’ve seen this week are graphic and heartbreaking, and they shine a light on the fear that millions of members of our community live with every day,” he wrote.
At Facebook’s HQ on Friday, many employees posted images from the gathering around the Black Lives Matter sign.
Facebook isn’t the only tech company troubled by the week’s tragedies. On Thursday Google also tweeted its own message of outrage and support. “We stand in solidarity with the fight for racial justice,” said Google in its statement, with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
Critics have long argued that Silicon Valley companies don’t seem to care enough about black people. This week’s event suggest, perhaps, that at least some companies are getting the message that they should.