Facebook on Friday apologized after an Intercept report said the company would allow business administrators to censor certain words from employees like "unionize" on its office management platform, Facebook Workplace.
The report cites an internal company meeting in which Facebook employees discussed the Workplace app, which allows users to communicate with coworkers using a professional interface with recognizable Facebook features like News Feed, Groups, Chat and Room.
The company said during the meeting that there are "benefits" to "content control" for administrators, giving the example of the word "unionize" as one that business leaders might choose to censor on the platform, The Intercept reported.
"While these kinds of content moderation tools are useful for companies, this example should never have been used and we apologize for it," Facebook told FOX Business. "The feature was only in early development and we’ve pulled any plans to roll it out while we think through next steps."
Facebook has prided itself on promoting free speech on its platform and has even come under fire from employees and users alike who disagreed with the company's decision to not remove posts from President Trump in recent weeks that Twitter decided to label or hide, highlighting the different ways social media companies choose to moderate content.
A number of Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout after it was revealed that the platform did not take the same action as Twitter against a Trump post saying, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts" in reference to potential law enforcement action against violent protesters in the wake of George Floyd's death. Twitter hid the post and added a disclaimer while Facebook kept it up without labels.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended leaving the posts up; he has repeatedly said Facebook promotes free speech and voters have the right to make their own decisions regarding political posts and advertisements.
“We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,” Zuckerberg told Fox News anchor Dana Perino on May 27. “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. In general, private companies probably shouldn’t be – especially these platform companies – shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
Trump signed an executive order in May that would require the Federal Communications Commission to re-examine some aspects of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives protections to social media companies so they are not held liable for what users post on their platforms but still allows those platforms to edit posts that they feel could pose a threat to users.