Amazon denies plan to censor words like ‘union’, ‘slave labour’ and ‘pay rise’ from internal messaging

Managers would also have authority to manually flag and block messages sent on a planned messaging app

Justin Vallejo
New York
Tuesday 05 April 2022 22:15
Comments
Bernie Sanders calls out Jeff Bezos for blocking Amazon union effort

Amazon says it doesn’t intend to censor verboten phrases floated for an “auto bad word monitor” in a planned internal messaging app.

"Union", "slave labour", "prison" and "plantation" were among a blacklist of inappropriate words or profanities highlighted in an internal document to be automatically blocked from the app, according to The Intercept.

Managers would also have the authority to manually flag or suppress any messages they find inappropriate.

While a pilot is scheduled to launch later this month, an Amazon spokeswoman told The Independent that there are no plans for many of the words called out in the document to be screened if the internal messaging app does officially launch.

“This particular program has not been approved yet and may change significantly or even never launch at all,” Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agrait said.

"The only kinds of words that may be screened are ones that are offensive or harassing, which is intended to protect our team,” she added.

Amazon did not add which words would or would not be included on the "offensive" blacklist to be flagged by the app. Messages containing the words would be prevented from being sent between employees.

Many of the phrases on the leaked document relate to workplace conditions, including “grievance”, “pay raise”, “compensation”, “ethics”, “unfair”, “slave”, “master”, “freedom”, “diversity”, “injustice,” and "restrooms".

The phrase “this is concerning” is also on the planning document, which stemmed from a November 2021 meeting to discuss the internal social media program, according to an anonymous source quoted in the report.

Company officials were warned of the "dark side of social media" during the meeting, which led to the blacklist being devised to sanitize its posts, or what the company would call "Shout-Outs".

“With free text, we risk people writing Shout-Outs that generate negative sentiments among the viewers and the receivers,” the leaked document noted.

“We want to lean towards being restrictive on the content that can be posted to prevent a negative associate experience.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in