Facebook debuts workplace censorship tool, highlights “unionize” as a target

Facebook debuts workplace censorship tool, highlights “unionize” as a target

From 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.

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.”

The Intercept – Facebook Pitched New Tool Allowing Employers to Suppress Words Like “Unionize” in Workplace Chat Product

Facebook Workplace isn’t a well-known product to most people, but companies use it as an alternative to Slack and Microsoft Teams. It’s not necessarily surprising that a company would want control over the content posted on its internal message boards, but the fact that Facebook would use “unionize” as one of the examples in its demonstration is very telling.

This comes after employees of Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, Instacart and Amazon, among others, walked off the job in May demanding better treatment, more PPE and safer working conditions during the COVID-19 crisis. Facebook and Google employees have also staged protests over national and internal injustices perpetrated by their companies and the system overall.

Tech has often been viewed as a solitary job, with (primarily white cis male) workers seen as individuals rather than a collective. That’s changing. Groups like the Tech Workers Coalition, Game Workers Unite and unions like CWA are working hard to organize workers in this industry.

Facebook and other tech giants see this as an obvious threat. Google has tried to shut down efforts to unionize and organize. The focus of the word “unionize” in the product demonstration is a clear message to its own workers and workers everywhere. But the workers are rising up!