Sandberg says Facebook plans to add African-American board director – CNET

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Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg met with the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday. 

James Martin/CNET

Facebook has been criticized for the lack of diversity on its board. Now, the social network says it’s going to do something about it.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s high-profile COO, told members of the Congressional Black Caucus Thursday that the company plans to add an African-American director to its board.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Rep. Robin Kelly, a Democrat from Illinois and a member of the CBC, confirmed the remarks by Sandberg, but declined to provide further comment. 

Sandberg reportedly told the lawmakers the company is in talks with a candidate, but declined to disclose a name or timeline for the appointment, according to a report from USA Today.

Right now, none of Facebook’s eight board members are people of color.

Sandberg is in Washington, D.C., trying to contain the fallout from Facebook’s ad controversy, in which Russian agents bought more than $100,000 ads in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 US election.

The trip comes as Facebook prepares to testify on Nov. 1 at Congressional hearings about foreign actors using social media to try to meddle with the election. Twitter and Google are also expected to testify. Silicon Valley companies have been in damage-control mode in response to the ad controversy, trying to fend off the looming threat of regulation from Washington, D.C.

Aside from discussions about Facebook’s board, the CBC also talked to Sandberg about more transparency around its ads.

“I think today’s meeting was productive and sets us on a path to get more answers and eventually, change. Facebook and other digital companies cannot become a Trojan Horse for foreign efforts to influence our democratic elections,” Rep. Kelly said in a statement. “All companies – whether it’s a tech giant or mom-and-pop shop – need to follow the law, protect customer data and not be complicit in foreign threats to our security.”

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