Mark Zuckerberg banned Meta employees from talking about abortion

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Facebook’s parent company is ordering its employees to stop talking about abortion.

An executive at Meta Platforms told employees on Thursday that they are not allowed to discuss the contentious issue during office hours due to “an increased risk” that the company would be perceived as a “hostile work environment,” The Verge reported.

The policy, which was initially put in place three years ago but was only reported recently, bans employees from offering “opinions or debates about abortion being right or wrong, availability or rights of abortion, and political, religious, and humanitarian views on the topic,” according to The Verge.

The tech news site cited language from an internal note titled “Respectful Communication Policy,” which was first rolled out by the company in 2019.

But Meta employees reportedly want their bosses to do away with the policy in light of a recent Supreme Court draft opinion that overturns Roe v. Wade.

Janelle Gale, Meta’s vice president of human resources, told employees on Thursday that abortion was “the most divisive and reported topic” on Workplace, which is Facebook’s internal communications and messaging platform, according to The Verge.

Abortion rights activists have been spurred to action after a Supreme Court draft opinion indicating that the justices appear poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Abortion rights activists have been spurred to action after a Supreme Court draft opinion indicating that the justices appear poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
AP

Gale reportedly said that “even if people are respectful, and they’re attempting to be respectful about their view on abortion, it can still leave people feeling like they’re being targeted based on their gender or religion.”

“It’s the one unique topic that kind of trips that line on a protected class pretty much in every instance.”

The Verge reported that it had obtained recordings of Gale’s comments to employees.

Meta employees have been told they are not to discuss abortion on the company's internal communications platforms.
Meta employees have been told they are not to discuss abortion on the company’s internal communications platforms.
VIA REUTERS

Another Meta executive, Naomi Gleit, wrote on Workplace: “At work, there are many sensitivities around this topic, which makes it difficult to discuss on Workplace.”

Gleit wrote that employees were allowed to discuss abortion at work “with a trusted colleague in a private setting (e.g. live, chat, etc.)” and in a “listening session with a small group of up to 5 like-minded people to show solidarity.”

Meta has not officially taken a position on the Supreme Court draft opinion, though Mark Zuckerberg’s No. 2, Sheryl Sandberg, wrote on her Facebook page that abortion was “one of our most fundamental rights.”

“Every woman, no matter where she lives, must be free to choose whether and when she becomes a mother,” she wrote.

“Few things are more important to women’s health and equality.”

Gleit told employees that the company “will continue to offer our employees access to reproductive healthcare in the US regardless of where they live.”

A growing list of Fortune 500 firms, including Starbucks, Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Salesforce, have said they will reimburse employees for travel expenses incurred when seeking abortions or gender-affirming surgeries out of state.