Facing an outcry on social media, Vancouver-based tech giant Hootsuite says it has “decided not to do business” with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
On Wednesday evening, someone who identifies as an employee with the social media management company, posted a Twitter thread saying many people at the company were upset.
“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,” the tweet began. “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.”
The person went on to say that ICE’s “repeated human rights violations” were at odds with Hootsuite’s publicly stated values. It has since been retweeted thousands of times.
In recent years, ICE, which falls under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has come under fire from critics who say the tactics it uses to detain and deport migrants undermine civil liberties.
Late Wednesday night, a Hootsuite spokeswoman told Business in Vancouver “Hootsuite is not entering into a deal with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
Thursday morning, the company posted a tweet with slightly different wording, saying that “due to the attention around this particular case we can confirm that Hootsuite has decided not to do business with the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.”
A website that tracks U.S. government spending shows that the Department of Homeland Security awarded a contract worth $508,832 that began on Sept. 18 to digital solutions company FCN Inc., of Rockville, Md., for Hootsuite licences.
The contract was set for one year with an option to renew for two additional years.
The Star has reached out to Hootsuite, ICE and FCN to clarify the status of the contract.
This would not be the first time a tech company has received backlash for partnering with ICE.
Last year, employees of Microsoft-owned GitHub expressed anger over that company’s decision to renew a contract with ICE.
More to come