Amazon is reportedly planning to add a content filter to an internal messaging app in the works and would ban words that reflect the company’s working conditions or pertain to organizing a union, according to internal documents obtained by means of The Interception†
With the filter in place, the app would block or flag posts that contain words like “union,” “slave labor,” “complaint,” “living wage,” and more. Oh yeah, it would filter out “toilet” too (probably to avoid telling your coworker you “just went to the toilet in a bottle”).
A source familiar with the situation told The Interception that Amazon executives met in November 2021 to discuss the creation of a social media platform specifically for employees. Dave Clark, Amazon’s head of global consumer affairs, has reportedly suggested that the app offers a one-on-one social experience, like the dating app Bumble, rather than serving as a major social hub like Facebook. It would allow employees to showcase each other’s work by creating posts called ‘Shout-Outs’. Amazon would somehow integrate these Shout-Outs into its gamification program, which The Interception says employees are already showered with virtual stars and badges for their productivity.
At the meeting, executives reportedly discussed “the dark side of social media” and agreed to monitor employee posts (should Amazon ever launch the platform). Apparently they did some brainstorming after the meeting, and that’s when the source reports that they’ve come up with their list of “bad” words.
Besides profanity and other inappropriate words, The Interception says it also includes “unfair,” “master,” “slave,” “injustice,” “ethics,” “diversity,” “honesty,” “wage increase,” and phrases like “This is stupid” or “This is concerned.” What better way to address employee concerns than to relegate them to non-existence? Coming from a company that paid people on Twitter to say nice things about it, I can’t say I’m surprised.
“Our teams are always thinking of new ways to help employees interact,” Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait said in a statement. The edge† “This particular program has not yet been approved and could change significantly or even not be launched at all. If it launches down the road at some point, there are no plans to screen many of the words you shout. The only types of words that can be screened are offensive or intimidating words, which are meant to protect our team”
The first-ever Amazon union ever formed in a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, providing a huge landmark for Amazon employees across the country. A union vote at a Bessemer, Alabama warehouse was too close to call and will be determined by a court hearing — the second election after the National Labor Relations Board said Amazon violated labor laws during the first. Meanwhile, the union vote at another warehouse on Staten Island is currently underway.