Facebook adds more guidelines for internal employee speech, banning political images in profile pics

Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference on February 15, 2020.
Kuhlmann | Munich Security Conference

Facebook on Thursday outlined its new set of rules for employee communications within Workplace, the company’s internal social network.

Chief among the new changes is a requirement that employees use a photo of themselves or their initials as their profile pictures. This change would prohibit employees from setting their profile pictures to images that promote specific political candidates or causes, for instance. 

“We deeply value expression, open discussion, and a company culture built on respect and inclusivity,” Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman, said 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.”

The new rules come a week after CEO Mark Zuckerberg informed employees about a new set of principles to guide internal debates and conversations. 

Facebook’s new rules will also expand the company’s definition of harassment. The company will prohibit any communication that is insensitive, degrading or derogatory and could create a hostile work environment for those in a protected class.

Additionally, the company will be more specific about which parts of Workplace can be used to discuss social and political issues. Facebook will also increase its support for moderation of nonofficial Workplace groups.

These changes come after a series of leaks over the past few months from employee Workplace posts as well as Facebook’s weekly Q&A with Zuckerberg.


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