Meta told its workers on Friday not to openly discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion on wide-reaching communication channels inside the company, people with knowledge of the situation said.
Managers at Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, cited a company policy that put “strong guardrails around social, political and sensitive conversations” in the workplace, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. They said managers had pointed employees to a May 12 company memo, which was issued after a draft opinion on potentially overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked from the Supreme Court.
In the May 12 memo, which was obtained by The New York Times, Meta said that “discussing abortion openly at work has a heightened risk of creating a hostile work environment,” so it had taken “the position that we would not allow open discussion.”
The policy has led to frustration and anger, the people said. On Friday, some contacted colleagues and managers to express their dissent with the company’s stance. Managers were advised to be empathetic but neutral on the topic, while messages that violated the policy in team chats were removed, two people said. In the past, Meta employees often used internal communication forums to discuss sociopolitical issues and current events.
Ambroos Vaes, a Meta software engineer, said in a post on LinkedIn that he was saddened that employees were “not allowed” to widely discuss the Supreme Court ruling. On the company’s internal communication platform, “moderators swiftly remove posts or comments mentioning abortion,” he wrote. “Limited discussion can only happen in groups of up to 20 employees who follow a set playbook, but not out in the open.”