While it may be far too early to suggest the tide is turning in America, employees at Facebook were informed on Thursday that they can no longer talk about abortion on Workplace, an internal version of the social media platform, because of “an increased risk” that the company is seen as a “hostile work environment.”
That’s according to The Verge, which reported that a Meta executive made the announcement during an all-hands meeting as a result of a 2019 policy at the company that prohibits employees from discussing “opinions or debates about abortion being right or wrong, availability or rights of abortion, and political, religious, and humanitarian views on the topic.”
The irony here being that these employees are not immune to the censorship efforts the Big Tech giant regularly practices on the public platform.
“Some employees have called on management to do away with the policy in the aftermath of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, arguing that the ban is at odds with employees being allowed to talk ‘respectfully’ about issues like Black Lives Matter, immigration, and trans rights,” the website reported.
Meta Vice President of Human Resources Janelle Gale said during the meeting that abortion was “the most divisive and reported topic” by employees on Workplace, according to a recording of her comments obtained by The Verge. Gale reportedly said that “even if people are respectful, and they’re attempting to be respectful about their view on abortion, it can still leave people feeling like they’re being targeted based on their gender or religion.”
“It’s the one unique topic that kind of trips that line on a protected class pretty much in every instance,” the executive added.
A 10-year female employee said in an internal post that the policy caused her to feel a “strong sense of silence and isolation on Workplace.”
“The same policy explicitly allows us to discuss similarly sensitive issues and movements including immigration, trans rights, climate change, Black Lives Matter, gun rights / gun control, and vaccination,” she wrote, according to The Verge. “The argument about why our policy treats one issue quite differently than other sensitive issues feels flimsy and unconvincing to me. The entire process of dealing with the Respectful Communication policy, being told why my post is violating, and crafting this new post has felt dehumanizing and dystopian.”
She also claimed that an earlier version of her post had been taken down and that “much of the content removed” in a subsequent version posted.
Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, the second-highest executive at the company, did not mince words earlier this month in responding to Politico reporting that an unprecedented leak of a majority opinion draft indicated that the Supreme Court was on the verge of overturning Roe.
“This is a scary day for women all across our country,” Sandberg wrote on her personal Facebook page. “If the leaked draft opinion becomes the law of the land, one of our most fundamental rights will be taken away. Every woman, no matter where she lives, must be free to choose whether and when she becomes a mother. Few things are more important to women’s health and equality.”
The public relations firm Zeno Group, which represents corporations like Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Starbucks, advised its clients privately to avoid commenting on the possibility of Roe being overturned, Fox News reported. This coming on the heels of the Disney fiasco in Florida.
“Do not take a stance you cannot reverse, especially when the decision is not final. This topic is a textbook ‘50/50’ issue,” the internal communication reportedly said. “Subjects that divide the country can sometimes be no-win situations for companies because regardless of what they do they will alienate at least 15 to 30 percent of their stakeholders… Do not assume that all of your employees, customers or investors share your view.”
Despite being in the family entertainment business, Disney pushed all in with the radical left to oppose a law banning sexual instruction for K-3 students, vowing to fight to overturn the law. This prompted a showdown with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who ultimately prevailed in having a law passed revoking a special district created for Disney that gave the company the power to govern its own business. Disney stock has taken a drubbing amid all the drama.
Some corporations have engaged on the issue of abortion. Amazon and Tesla have said they would cover some expenses for pregnant employees traveling for an abortion and Lyft and Uber have promised to pay the legal bills for drivers who may be sued under Oklahoma’s restrictive abortion bill.
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