Jesse Jackson, civil rights activists target Twitter over diversity

SAN FRANCISCO — Civil rights activists are turning up pressure on Twitter to publicly release the gender and ethnic breakdown of its flock of employees. And they are doing it by waging an attention-grabbing campaign on Twitter.

Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the civil rights organization say they will use Twitter as a bullhorn to call on the San Francisco company to share demographic information about its work force and to host a public forum on how it plans to increase the diversity of its staff.

At a session on Twitter at the Netroots Nation annual political convention in Detroit on Friday, activists will ask people to “tweet out” to Twitter. ColorOfChange is also asking its 1 million members to sign an online petition to add their voices to the campaign.

“We come not to disrupt but to fulfill the promise of social media,” Jackson said in an interview this week.

Jackson has succeeded in getting other major Internet companies —Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo — to release reports that show what many have long suspected: the technology industry is overwhelming male, white and Asian.

But Twitter has remained silent, he said…