Planned Amazon internal chat app reportedly banned words such as "restrooms," "vaccine,"...

midian182

Posts: 7,882   +81
Staff member
A hot potato: Amazon's reputation for having a toxic work environment has been strengthened by a report that claims the company's planned internal messaging app filtered words that could make it sound bad or related to unions.

According The Intercept, the planned employee messaging app has a filter that flagged words many have come to associate with Amazon's working conditions through years of negative reports on the company.

Some of the blocked terms included "union," "slave labor," "grievance," "living wage," "prison," and "plantation." Even using the word "restrooms" was disallowed, likely due to claims that many employees, especially delivery drivers, are forced to urinate in bottles because of the unrealistic targets and deadlines imposed 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 would highlight co-workers' performance using posts called "Shout-Outs."

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

A list of words was devised that would be blocked if they appeared in any employee messages—the app was to be more like dating app Bumble, where workers engaged with each other one on one, rather than something more traditional like Facebook.

In addition to profanities, words that could be critical of Amazon's workplace and practices were banned. "union," "grievance," "pay raise," and "compensation" were off-limits, along with "ethics," "unfair," "slave," "master," "freedom," "diversity," "injustice," "vaccine," and "fairness." Even phrases such as "This is concerning" or "This is dumb" were on the list.

Amazon gave a statement defending its plan, saying that even if the internal platform went ahead, only "offensive and harassing" words would be flagged, while many (but not all) of those on the list would be allowed.

"Our teams are always thinking about new ways to help employees engage with each other," Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait said in a statement to The Verge. "This particular program has not been approved yet and may change significantly or even never launch at all. If it does launch at some point down the road, there are no plans for many of the words you're calling out to be screened. The only kinds of words that may be screened are ones that are offensive or harassing, which is intended to protect our team."

Back in January, the controversial Amazon FC Ambassador program, which involved the retail giant paying workers to tweet about how amazing it is to work at the company, was shuttered.

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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,359   +5,586
Get back in your wagie cagie! No questioning the narrative, sit in your pod and eat the bugs!

What's really sad, even in places with plenty of competition from other warehouses, amazon has no issue not only getting employees but getting employees to come BACK after quitting. None of the backbone left from the old days of unionization where companies would be forced to shut down due to lack of labor.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,749   +7,663
Now that the first Amazon facility has gone union I think you will see many others do the same. Union's today and different than those 50 years ago, but they still have a few habits that tarnish a good image. If they stick to negotiations of wages & benefits as well as work on unfair labor practices they will do fine, but if they start doing some of the underhanded things I experienced in AFLCIO, UAW, UMW, FATLC, and a few others I was affiliated with, they will loose the support of the nation as well as many of their own members.

Amazon, Walmart, and several other larger companies are all overdue for unionization and this first big step will probably get the ball rolling. If companies honestly want to avoid unionization they are going to have to support and listen to internal groups and encourage the formation of these groups so there can be honest representation. Those that fail or refuse to will get what they deserve, which sadly has become the "American way" for most major corporations .....
 

Mister_K

Posts: 2,158   +860
Get back in your wagie cagie! No questioning the narrative, sit in your pod and eat the bugs!

What's really sad, even in places with plenty of competition from other warehouses, amazon has no issue not only getting employees but getting employees to come BACK after quitting. None of the backbone left from the old days of unionization where companies would be forced to shut down due to lack of labor.

All these fulfilment jobs are only going to be removed by robots anyway. Same for store clerks and whole load of other jobs. What then. UBI...
 

eforce

Posts: 948   +1,360
Rather than ban words they could just give them negative social credit, I heard it worked elsewhere...
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,693   +6,621
Rather than ban words they could just give them negative social credit, I heard it worked elsewhere...
Yes, you are correct. Negative social credit is one of the ways that China keeps their citizens under control.

But banning the word "restrooms"?? IMO, that is emblematic of the piece of work that crApazon has become in the name of profit and global domination.

I wonder when they will start giving their employees adult diapers? At least that would be better than banning the word "restrooms". crApazon simply cannot expect that their employees would not need to use a "restroom" at all during an 8-hour shift. I wonder just what the conditions are and whether what crApazon is doing is legal? IMO, they are heading for a rather large lawsuit.