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.”
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.
The suggestion that Facebook is actively building tools designed to suppress labor organizing quickly caused a stir at the Menlo Park, California-based company. Facebook employees sparked a flurry of posts denouncing the feature, with several commenting in disbelief that the company would overtly pitch “unionize” as a topic to be blacklisted.