Every so often Hypertext gets tagged in a tweet for an event. While we don’t really pay much attention to these sorts of tweets, this week we were forced to.

Yesterday afternoon Ornico announced that it would be hosting the South African Social Media Landscape 2020 online.

“The online event will cover some of the latest South African statistics across leading social network and brand spend forecasts by some top brands and agencies,” read the notice.

While that seems innocuous, a few folks on social media spotted a problem – the speakers being highlighted for the event weren’t especially diverse. To put it bluntly, there wasn’t a single Black individual on the speaker list for an event speaking directly about South Africa.

Given the current events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement across the globe, Twitter users were quick to criticise Ornico.

“In the midst of everything that is transpiring in the media right now, to have a panel that reflects the symptoms of the ill that is systemic racism? You’re intentionally tone-deaf. And quite frankly how dare you front as representing an entire industry in this discussion,” said one user.

And that person, along with many others, had a valid point.

We got in touch with Ornico who said this when we asked whether a more diverse panel could be considered.

“We acknowledge and agree with the need for a more diverse and representative panel at the SA Social Media Landscape 2020. Our teams are engaging with various top minds in order to update the panel, so that it is more representative while providing useful insight on the state of social media in South Africa,” a spokesperson for Ornico told Hypertext.

Some Twitter users have questioned the brand about this issue directly. One of the incredibly valid points made is who would now agree to be part of a make-shift panel.

Ornico has as of time of writing not shared information regarding who will be added to the speaker list but we will be sure to update you in this regard when more information is made available.

With the event set to take place on 10th June at 10:00 Ornico will have to move fast.