An employee of Hootsuite, a Vancouver-based “digital services company” that helps companies manage social media accounts, has been fired after tweeting about Hootsuite’s partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to an October 6 Vancouver Sun article.
Sam Anderson, who worked for Hootsuite as a product trainer, tweeted on October 6 about her firing: “As of yesterday morning I am no longer employed by Hootsuite. I’m not sure what I can and can’t say about my departure, but I assume it’s fair to say (and also probably obvious) that it was not my decision to leave.” Her follow-up tweets mention that she is searching for a new job, hopefully in the tech industry.
Anderson publicized Hootsuite’s partnership with ICE when she created a Twitter thread on September 23: “Been debating talking about this publicly because I don’t want to get fired, but it seems like the cat’s already out of the bag so whatever: yesterday Hootsuite signed a three-year deal with ICE,” her tweet reads. The thread continues: “Over 100 employees have been extremely vocal in their opposition to this deal…since it first came to light in June and it went through anyway. ICE’s repeated human rights violations are, to put it lightly, seriously at odds with our publicly stated values around DE&I, the Movement for Black Lives, and our purpose to champion the power of human connection.”
Anderson also mentions the ICE whistleblower case that made headlines earlier in September, when a nurse working at a Georgia ICE detention center alleged that immigrant women were forced to have hysterectomies. “That we are eagerly accepting money from an organization that is allegedly subjecting its female detainees to forced hysterectomies, that has a documented history of locking children in cages, that tears families apart and destroys lives is devastating and disgusting in a way… that I can’t effectively put into words,” Anderson’s Twitter thread reads. “Even more heartbreaking is that multiple members of our Mexico City support team have relayed their personal experiences being targeted and harassed by ICE, and our leadership team chose to push this deal through anyway,” the tweets say.
On September 24, a day after Anderson’s initial tweet thread went public, Hootsuite responded on their Twitter account, announcing that they “decided not to do business with the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.” Anderson celebrated, responding, “UPDATE: WE DID IT!!!”
Hootsuite also published a tweet with a longer statement from CEO Tom Keiser on September 24. “Over the last 24 hours, there has been a broad emotional and passionate reaction from our people, and this has spurred additional dialog. We have heard the lived experiences from our people and the hurt they are feeling. The decision has created a divided company, and this is not the kind of company I came to lead. I—and the rest of the management team—share the concerns our people have expressed. As a result, we have decided not to proceed with the deal with ICE,” the statement reads.