Facebook Pitched New Tool Allowing Employers to Suppress Words Like ‘Unionize’ in Workplace Chat Product

Lee Fang, reporting for The Intercept:

During an internal presentation at Facebook on Wednesday, the company debuted features for Facebook Workplace, an intranet-style chat and office collaboration product similar to Slack.

On Facebook Workplace, employees see a stream of content similar to a news feed, with automatically generated trending topics based on what people are posting about. One of the new tools debuted by Facebook allows administrators to remove and block certain trending topics among employees.

The presentation discussed the “benefits” of “content control.” And it offered one example of a topic employers might find it useful to blacklist: the word “unionize.”

Union-bashing aside (which, admittedly, is a big thing to set aside), it seems crazy to me that any organization would even consider using a Facebook tool for internal communications. Who would trust this?

Facebook Workplace is currently used by major employers such as Walmart, which is notorious for its active efforts to suppress labor organizing. The application is also used by the Singapore government, Discovery Communications, Starbucks, and Campbell Soup Corporation.

Facebook’s product page for Workplace lists the World Health Organization, Spotify, and Heineken as paying customers too.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020