Facebook employees have been known for their pressuring of the company to support more censorship in recent times. But there’s at least one thing that employees don’t want to be censored: conversations about unionizing.
Facebook Workplace is a collaboration tool for companies that serves as an internal communication platform where employees of a company can communicate with one another and share a common feed.
What’s different about Facebook Workplace when compared to the general social media platform is the fact that Workplace allows organizations to set their rules and better customize the platform to suit their company policies. Based on the contents of an internal discussion in Facebook, it was found that the company was going to introduce features that will allow administrators to block certain topics and keywords among employees.
As a part of the meeting, the example used to describe the feature was the fact that employers could blacklist the word “unionize”. It is worth noting that several companies are against the formation of unions in companies. And coincidentally, companies such as Walmart, known for their active role in employee suppression, use Facebook Workplace. Facebook Workplace is also used by Discovery Communications, Starbucks, and the Singapore government, among others.
The fact that Facebook was introducing a feature that could actively suppress the formation of workers’ unions did not sit well with the employees of Facebook. As a matter of fact, several employees could not even digest the fact that Facebook would pitch “unionize” for demonstrating the capabilities of Workplace.
The presentation containing the “unionize” reference was soon taken down and Karandeep Anand, a product manager for Facebook Workplace said that the tool was not built for censorship per se, but to foster a “respectful work environment”. A spokesperson for Facebook said that the feature was still in developmental stages and the example chosen to demonstrate the feature was in poor taste.
“While these kinds of content moderation tools are useful for companies, this example was poorly chosen and should never have been used. The feature was only in early development and we’ve pulled any plans to roll it out while we think through next steps,” said a Facebook spokesperson.