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Meta won’t let employees talk about topics like abortion, gun control, and workplace vaccines • londonbusinessblog.com

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Meta employees were told not to discuss sensitive issues such as abortion, gun control, pending legislation and the efficacy of vaccines at work. Fortune reported about these changes, citing a leaked internal memo from Lori Goler, head of people at Meta. londonbusinessblog.com confirmed the report with a Meta spokesperson.

“As Mark said recently, we need to make some cultural shifts to help us deliver on our priorities,” Goler wrote in a memo from the company, according to the Fortune report. “We do this to ensure that internal discussions remain respectful, productive and allow us to focus. This comes with the trade-off that we no longer allow any type of expression at work, but we believe it is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our internal community.

Meta took a similar stance in June, when a draft Supreme Court opinion leaked that would overturn Roe v. Wade. According to an document which the New York Times got its hands on at the time, Meta said that “openly discussing abortion at work has an increased risk of creating a hostile work environment.”

“We value expression, open discussion, and a corporate culture based on respect and inclusion,” Kadia Koroma, a spokesperson for Meta, said in an email to londonbusinessblog.com. “We have updated our employee expectations to provide guidance on what is appropriate for our people in the workplace so that we can reduce distractions while maintaining an environment that is respectful, inclusive and where people can do their best work.”

Meta employees who need to discuss these topics to do their jobs are exempt from the policy. These guidelines do not apply outside the workplace.

As a company, Meta is in a period of financial turmoil as the investments in metaverse are not paying off. At the start of the year, Meta stock was trading at about $330 per share; now it’s down about 50% to $115 a share. Over the summer, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees in a phone call that he would ramp up expectations and set more aggressive targets. “Realistically, there are probably some people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” he said told his team. Subsequently, Meta cut 11,000 jobs last month, representing 13% of its workforce.

These new mandates to avoid discussion of sensitive issues align with Zuckerberg’s desire to increase intensity at work. The changes are positioned as a way to keep employees focused by “minimizing disruption,” says Goler’s note, per Fortune. Goler also touched on how Meta takes positions on public policy.

“We are often asked to co-write advocacy letters on topics that are important but not directly related to our work. This can distract us from focusing on issues that are not central to our mission,” Goler wrote. “So going forward as a company, we will only make public statements on issues that are core to our business, meaning they are necessary to provide our service.”

Coinbase took a similar approach in 2020, when CEO Brian Armstrong posted a culture memo saying that discussions about political issues and social causes were not allowed — if employees didn’t like it, they could resign and leave.

The policy was controversial. For many tech workers, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, current events are having a tangible impact on their daily lives – and that includes work. Even Jack Dorsey, former Twitter CEO and Bitcoin evangelist, spoke against Coinbase’s anti-activism policy, which writes that crypto is “direct activism against an unverifiable and exclusive financial system that negatively affects much of our society.” Dorsey said Armstrong’s position “leaves people behind”.

At Meta, a company that operates social media platforms that billions of people use every day, it’s hard to imagine that these forbidden topics won’t inevitably come up.


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