Facebook Inc will require employees to use either their own picture or an image of their initials as their internal profile photo as part of a broader effort to encourage more respectful discourse internally.
The policy will prohibit using profile images with political content. The company will also create dedicated groups on its internal employee network for people to talk about important social issues, a spokeswoman said, a move to keep heated debates from spilling out into the more public spaces where employees talk about work. The company uses a business version of the Facebook social network, called Workplace, to conduct most of its internal affairs and communication.
Chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg announced the changes Sept 24 during a weekly Q&A with employees, following up on an earlier pledge that new internal policies were coming.
“We deeply value expression, open discussion, and a company culture built on respect and inclusivity,” said Facebook spokeswoman Pamela Austin in a statement. “What we have heard from our employees is that they want the option to join debates on social and political issues rather than see them unexpectedly in their work feed. So we’re updating our policies and work tools to make sure our people have both voice, and choice.”
Facebook employees, like much of the country, have engaged in heated internal debates at times this year over current events including Black Lives Matter protests. After Facebook executives refused to remove controversial posts from US President Donald Trump in late May, some employees staged a virtual walkout and many changed their profile photos to an all black image, or a black and white fist.
Those types of profile photos would be against the new policies moving forward, though Facebook will let employees use company-created photo filters, like those created for holidays or social movements like Pride Month. – Bloomberg
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