On Wednesday night, an employee at Vancouver-based tech company Hootsuite revealed on Twitter that the company was working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“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. Over 100 employees have been extremely vocal in their opposition to this deal,” the employee tweeted, adding that support team members in Mexico City relayed their personal experiences of harassment by ICE to no avail.
In a statement to Business in Vancouver on Wednesday night, Hootsuite said it was “not entering into a deal” with ICE. On Thursday morning, the company tweeted out another denial, saying it has “decided not to do business” with the agency.
However, an ICE contract for $508,832 was already signed and started on September 18 by a company called FCN Inc. to provide ICE with Hootsuite's services, specifically “Hootsuite licenses.” The contract runs for one year with two additional one-year options.
FCN is a technology company that effectively acts as a broker, packaging a partner’s products and connecting them with a Department of Homeland Security contract. In FCN’s own words: “We have a tight relationship with our partners that allows us to take advantage of our strengths combined with theirs to create a synergistic blend of talent to satisfy all of our customers needs.”
Spokespeople for FCN Inc. and Hootsuite were not immediately available for comment.
Hootsuite is a social media management and marketing tool that lets social media managers handle many accounts at once.
ICE's human rights abuses have long been documented for the entirety of its operation, including recent reports of an alleged forced sterilization program at an ICE concentration camp in Georgia. There, a whistleblower revealed that mass hysterectomies were performed on female detainees without their consent, by a doctor who was later revealed to not be a board certified OB-GYN.
Hootsuite is B Corporation, which are supposedly businesses that "meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose." B Corps seek to "build a more inclusive and sustainable economy." But most importantly, B Corps are supposed to seek "reduced inequality, lower level of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose" so that they can achieve their purpose of "positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment."
The status of the contract is currently unclear, but delivering technology to ICE in light of reported abuses contradicts not only everything a B Corps allegedly stands for, but the minimum moral standard individuals and groups can abide by.
Joseph Cox contributed reporting to this piece.