Largest union federation in the US demands apology from Mark Zuckerberg over new software feature that would allow employers blacklist words like 'unionize' in chats

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses as he testifies before a joint hearing of the Trade and Justice Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
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AP Photo / Alex Brandon
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka requested a personal apology from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after it became known that the company was working on a role that could limit union drives.
"The AFL-CIO urges Mark Zuckerberg to personally apologize to the workers, use this tool immediately, and conduct a board level investigation to determine how this product was created," said Trumka in a statement on Friday.
A spokesman for Facebook Business Insider previously said the company had frozen production due to its potentially anti-union function.
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The largest union federation in the U.S. blew up Facebook on Friday after it became known that the company was offering employers to limit union efforts on its platform.
Facebook's Workplace acts as an internal message board for corporate customers, in response to Slack or Microsoft teams. This week The Intercept reported that Facebook promised these customers the opportunity to "control content" on their respective news feeds. In particular, it was said that companies could suppress the word "unionize".
That didn't go well with the AFL-CIO, which represents more than 12.5 million union members.
"Employers who censor their workers' speech about union formation are illegal," said President Richard Trumka in a statement on June 12. "The AFL-CIO urges Mark Zuckerberg to personally apologize to the workers, use this tool immediately, and conduct a board level investigation to determine how this product was created."
A spokesman for Facebook Business Insider previously said the company had frozen production due to its potentially anti-union function.
"While these types of content moderation tools are useful for businesses, this example was poorly chosen and should never have been used," said the spokesman. "The feature was in the early stages of development and we made plans to roll it out as we considered the next steps."
Trumka also urged Facebook to "accept global labor law standards for all 48,000 workers and its contractors who employ tens of thousands more" and to remain neutral on efforts to form unions and recognize workers' unions.
Do you have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com
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