*Twitter announced earlier this week that BET CEO Debra L. Lee has been appointed to its board of directors. Lee will be Twitter’s first black board member and third female board member. Twitter made the notable development to squash criticism over its lack of diversity.
Considering Black Twitter is a potent and influential force in the social media world, only 2 percent of Twitter’s employees are black, according to data that the company released in 2015. Forty percent of African-Americans age 18-29 who are online use Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center. While only 28 percent of their white counterparts tweet.
Lee herself has more than 67,000 followers on Twitter. She has been a user of the site since 2012, and she tweeted her excitement over joining the company’s board, saying the service has “transformed the media and the world like few other things in history.”
Twitter has said that its goal is to increase underrepresented minorities on its staff from the current 10 percent to 11 percent. Its 2015 company profile report listed no underrepresented minorities — that is, people who are neither white nor Asian — in leadership roles at the tech company.
Lee joins Marjorie Scardino, the former CEO of Pearson whom Twitter appointed as a director in 2013 after criticism over the company’s all-male board, and Martha Lane Fox, a founder of multiple digital enterprises who was appointed last month, per The Huff Post. Debra Lee also sits on the board of Marriott International, hotel chains, and WGL Holdings, an energy company.
Her appointment also breaks with the prevailing representation of Silicon Valley tech companies, which are disproportionately white and male.