October 29, 2020

Facebook issues new rules on internal employee communication


Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg testified about Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency Libra, how his company will handle false and misleading information by political leaders during the 2020 campaign and how it handles its users’ data and privacy.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday outlined to employees a new set of principles to guide debates and conversations within Workplace, the company’s internal social network.

Zuckerberg outlined the changes to address “a lot of very tense conversations happening out in the world,” according to company spokesman Joe Osborne. The new principles follow a set of similar changes at Google, which is increasing the moderation of its internal message boards, CNBC reported earlier this week

“We deeply value expression and open discussion. What we’ve heard from our employees is that they want the option to join debates on social and political issues rather than see them unexpectedly in their work feed,” Osborne said in a statement. “We’re updating our employee policies and work tools to ensure our culture remains respectful and inclusive.”

The changes follow a set of recent leaks from Workplace and the company’s weekly Q&As showing that employees have increased their criticism of the company’s policies.

Under the new set of principles, Zuckerberg said, Facebook will ensure all employees feel supported at work, especially the company’s Black community, by strengthening the company’s harassment policy with more protections for underrepresented employees. 

The company will also be more specific about which parts of Workplace can be used to discuss social and political issues. This change will be so that employees do not have to confront social issues during their day-to-day work. 

Facebook’s new principles also ask that employees communicate with professionalism and continue to debate about the company’s work but do so in a respectful manner. 

BuzzFeed last month reported employees criticized Zuckerberg’s explanation of why the company failed to remove a militia group in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that used Facebook to plan an event where two protesters were shot and killed. This week, BuzzFeed reported a post by a fired Facebook data scientist who posted to Workplace a memo outlining how the company failed to act on election interference happening around the world through the social network. 

The new principles will guide changes to the company’s internal communication policy and the tools used to moderate those conversations. Those specific changes will be announced by the company next week, Osborne said. 



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