A new report from The Intercept indicates that a new in-property messaging app for Amazon staff members could ban a very long string of terms, including “ethics.” Most of the phrases on the checklist are types that a disgruntled personnel would use — terms like “union” and “compensation” and “pay increase.” In accordance to a leaked document reviewed by The Intercept, just one element of the messaging app (even now in enhancement) would be “An automatic word monitor would also block a variety of conditions that could symbolize probable critiques of Amazon’s performing disorders.” Amazon, of study course, is not specifically a lover of unions, and has spent (once again, for each the Intercept) a great deal of revenue on “anti-union consultants.”
So, what to say about this naughty listing?
On one particular hand, it’s uncomplicated to see why a company would want not to offer workers with a software that would enable them do some thing not in the company’s curiosity. I mean, if you want to arrange — or even simply complain — employing your Gmail account or Sign or Telegram, that is a single matter. But if you want to realize that goal by employing an application that the organization offers for internal business applications, the organization perhaps has a teensy bit of a genuine grievance.
On the other hand, this is plainly a terrible glimpse for Amazon — it is unseemly, if not unethical, to be pretty much banning personnel from making use of words and phrases that (probably?) show they’re performing some thing the firm does not like, or that perhaps just suggest that the company’s work requirements are not up to snuff.
But truly, what strikes me most about this plan is how ham-fisted it is. I necessarily mean, keyword phrases? Seriously? Do not we by now know — and if we all know, then undoubtedly Amazon knows — that social media platforms make attainable much, a lot additional complex means of influencing people’s conduct? We’ve by now viewed the use of Fb to manipulate elections, and even our thoughts. In comparison to that, this intended listing of naughty terms appears like Dr Evil trying to outfit sharks with laser-beams. What unions ought to seriously be worried about is employer-furnished platforms that really do not explicitly ban terms, but that subtly condition consumer expertise centered on their use of people terms. If Cambridge Analytica could plausibly endeavor to influence a countrywide election that way, couldn’t an employer quite believably purpose at shaping a unionization vote in comparable fasion?
As for banning the term “ethics,” I can only shake my head. The ability to speak brazenly about ethics — about values, about rules, about what your business stands for, is regarded by most scholars and consultants in the realm of company ethics as very fundamental. If you can not speak about it, how likely are you to be to be in a position to do it?
(Many thanks to MB for pointing me to this story.)