Tech

Amazon’s planned internal chat app is reportedly banning words like “toilets,” “vaccine,” and “slave labor.”

Hot potato: Amazon’s reputation as a company with a toxic work environment has been bolstered by a report alleging that the company’s planned internal messaging app was filtering out words that could sound bad or have to do with unions.

According to Interceptionthe planned employee messaging app has a filter that flags words that many have come to associate with Amazon’s terms of service over the years of bad reviews about the company.

Some of the blocked terms included “union”, “slave labor”, “grievance”, “living wage”, “prison”, and “plantation”. Even the use of the word “toilets” was banned, likely due to allegations that many employees, especially drivers, are forced to urinate in bottles due to unrealistic goals and deadlines placed on them.

The publication writes that in November 2021, Amazon held a meeting where executives discussed plans to create a social media platform specifically for employees that will highlight the work of colleagues through posts called “Shout-Outs”.

The idea was for these Shout-Outs to be integrated into Amazon’s rewards system, which rewards employees with virtual stars and badges for high performance. But there were warnings about the “dark side of social media,” so it was decided that employee posts would be monitored if the platform ever became a reality.

A list of words was drawn up that would be blocked if they appeared in any employee messages – the app was meant to be more like the dating app Bumble, where employees chatted with each other one-on-one, rather than something more traditional. like facebook.

In addition to profanity, words that could be critical of Amazon’s workplace and practices were banned. “union”, “complaint”, “increase in wages” and “compensation” were forbidden, as were “ethics”, “injustice”, “slave”, “master”, “freedom”, “diversity”, “injustice”. ”, “vaccine” and “justice”. The list even included phrases like “That’s about it” or “That’s stupid.”

Amazon issued a statement in defense of its plan, saying that even if the internal platform works, only “offensive and harassing” words will be flagged, while many (but not all) of the list will be allowed.

“Our teams are always thinking of new ways to help employees connect with each other,” said Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agright. edge. “This particular program has yet to be approved and may change significantly or even never launch. If it does run at some point in the future, we don’t have plans to test many of the words you call. the only words that can be verified are offensive or harassing, which is meant to protect our team.”

Back in January, the controversial Amazon FC Ambassador program, in which the retail giant paid workers to tweet about how great it is to work for the company, was shut down.


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