Roy Austin
Roy Austin

Facebook has hired Roy Austin, partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis law firm, as VP-civil rights, a new position at the social media company.

He has more than 25 years of experience as a civil rights lawyer, beginning his career in the Justice Dept. civil rights division.

Austin rose to the deputy assistant attorney general post in 2010 and shifted to the White House’s domestic policy council as an assistant to the president for the office of urban affairs, justice and opportunity.

He co-authored a report on big data and civil rights, worked with president Obama’s task force on 21st-century policing, developed the police data initiative and was a member of the president’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.

“I am excited to join Facebook at this moment when there is a national and global awakening happening around civil rights," Austin said in a Facebook blog. “Technology plays a role in nearly every part of our lives, and it’s important that it be used to overcome the historic discrimination and hate which so many underrepresented groups have faced, rather than to exacerbate it."

Austin will be based in Washington and report to duty on Jan. 19.

Meanwhile, Facebook expressed concern for the safety of its employees following the platform’s decision to suspend president Trump’s account and told them not to wear or carry company-branded items in public.