Amazon Goes Full Orwell With List Of Banned Words Among Workers

I'm concerned about the ethics of this. Oops, I mean I'm REDACTED about the REDACTED of this.
Amazon Goes Full Orwell With List Of Banned Words Among Workers

It seems like as Amazon becomes more frustrated with public reception of them, they’re less and less concerned with hiding their fangs. A new report shows that everyone’s favorite bootleg iPhone charger retailer is ready to go full Orwell in order to keep their workers as complacent as possible. Now, references to 1984 and George Orwell are a dime a dozen and widely hyperbolic these days. However, we’re about to take a look at a list of phrases and words planned to be blocked on employee messaging to “ensure a positive community,” so hammer, meet nailhead. 

Uncovered by Ken Klippenstein at The Intercept are leaked documents related to Amazon’s plans to establish an internal social media network for workers called “Shout-Outs”. Which makes it sound like a yearbook page and not a highly policed communication system. An Amazon spokesperson commented that “Our teams are always thinking about new ways to help employees engage with each other. This particular program has not been approved yet and may change significantly or even never launch at all.” The defense of “look, we were just THINKING about it" never fails to remind me of a favorite Mitchell & Webb sketch.

Mitchell And Webb screencap: Just because a computer says that killing all the poor will help the economy doesn't mean I'm going to do it!


Relevant Mitchell & Webb.

Surely this sort of censorship will send conservatives into a tizzy, right? Right? Anyways. Let’s learn some dangerous vocab.


I HATE: Ah, yes. That is precisely how you ensure a positive community. By banning displeasure! If frowning is illegal, everyone will be smiling!

UNION: Weird! This one doesn’t seem to really be an emotional word at all. Now how will I inform my co-workers of the beautiful union of my two friends who just got married?

FIRE: Well this one just seems dangerous. What if I need to inform my department of an emergency? “HOT FLAMES IN STOREROOM” takes way longer to write out.

TERMINATED: I’m just trying to explain to my work friend what happened to John Connor, and now I’m meeting with HR? Bogus.

COMPENSATION: I was simply offering legal advice to any of my friends that may have contracted mesothelioma.

PAY RAISE: To be honest I’m surprised Amazon is even familiar with the phrase. Maybe they should ask their CEO about it?

BULLYING: This would do well to stop bullying within the company, if bullying included the phrase “I’m going to do bullying to you!”

THIS IS CONCERNING: Who is this one for, my doctor when I show him a new rash?

STUPID: We here at Amazon prefer the term “unsmart.”

THIS IS DUMB: Good planning, to block both a word and the message that would immediately follow it. 4D chess!

PRISON: “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t commit suicide in big concrete building” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

THREAT: Again, this would be very effective if threats usually ended with someone going, “And that’s a threat!”

PETITION: Hmm. Again, weird. This isn’t really a happy or sad word! Maybe they just hate clipboards.

GRIEVANCE: Can’t file one if you can’t title the page, idiot! Oops, I mean “unsmart individual.”

INJUSTICE: I assume there was a huge problem with workers spending too long playing the comic book fighting game in the breakroom they probably don’t have.

DIVERSITY: I have nothing to add to how funny trying to spin banning the word “diversity” is.

ETHICS: OK, diversity, you’re off the hook. This is way funnier.

FAIRNESS: In fairness–oh no! I blew it!

ACCESSIBILITY: Jeez, I understand some people prefer to watch movies without subtitles, but chill out!

VACCINE: Devastating for members of the company’s Jonas Salk fan channel, “Salk Talk.”

SENIOR OPS: This one is just confusing. Is this like when Jason Bourne gets old?

LIVING WAGE: “Here at Amazon, the words ‘living wage’ are never part of our discussions. And that’s a guarantee”

REPRESENTATION: Well now I can’t even discuss metaphors with my book club.

UNFAIR: Finally, Amazon takes steps to stop board game related arguments in the workplace.

FAVORITISM: The word “favoritism” implies that ANYONE is valued.

RATE: This one might seem like it’s about pay, but it’s actually to stop people from deciding who the hottest coworker is.

TOT: This was an acronym I was unfamiliar with, but it apparently stands for Amazon’s “Time Off Tasks” policy which requires them to clock out anytime they’re off task, like when they go to the bathroom. It will now have to be referred to as the PBP (Piss Bottle Policy).

UNITE/UNITY: We here at Amazon believe unions are unnecessary because we consider our workers a family! A family that will be reprimanded if they use the word unity.

PLANTATION: Guessing this one isn’t about southern weddings.


SLAVE LABOR: Double hm.

MASTER: Oh boy.

CONCERNED: I swear to god, if your eyebrows so much as TWITCH upwards, you’re out of here!

FREEDOM: In the words of Alanis Morrissette, “Are you *#&$ing kidding me?”

RESTROOMS: “Hey boss, I think someone just did an absolute paint job in the, uh, water closet.”

ROBOTS: This is simply to stop the uprising. I support it.

TRASH: This will mostly affect Amazon workers that are also raccoons.

COMMITTEE: Take that, people with itty bitty titties!

COALITION: Who cares. They banned the word freedom.

So basically, every work chat is going to look like it was pulled from a file on MKULTRA. Here’s another peach from a document on the program:

“With free text, we risk people writing Shout-Outs that generate negative sentiments among the viewers and the receivers.”

With “free text.” Ah, free text. Text being the written form of speech. Wait a minute… let me just build a quick conspiracy board that only needs one piece of red yarn… my GOD! Free text… means FREE SPEECH! Like in the First Amendment! You know, the one that protects Freedom of Speech? Or as Amazon would call it, FREEDOM of speech.

Top Image: Seattle City Council/Pixabay

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