Facebook just announced its plan to no longer force employees to settle sexual harassment claims in private arbitration. Interestingly, this follows a similar change at Google. According to CNBC, the social media giant revealed the news to employees internally.
Vice president of people Lori Goler said that the company wants to “be part of taking the next step” at “a pivotal moment” in the tech industry. It also announced an updated policy on dating among employees, requiring executives to disclose any romantic relationship with another employee, even if they are not overseeing that employee’s work.
Several companies — including Microsoft, Uber, and Lyft — have dropped forced arbitration clauses from sexual harassment claims. But Google’s change was particularly high-profile because it was made after an estimated 20 percent of employees participated in a mass walkout protest last week. Arbitration was just one of the protesters’ demands, and their negotiations with Google remain ongoing.
Goler further said that sexual harassment has been discussed widely within Facebook, but she apparently did not discuss any more sweeping changes to company policy. The tech giant published its full internal harassment policy late last year, during the first months of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment. However, it defended its forced arbitration policy earlier this year, calling the process “official and appropriate.”
In a statement, corporate media relations director Anthony Harrison confirmed that Facebook was making arbitration optional.
He was quoted as saying:
“Today, we are publishing our updated Workplace Relationships policy and amending our arbitration agreements to make arbitration a choice rather than a requirement in sexual harassment claims,” he told The Verge. “Sexual harassment is something that we take very seriously, and there is no place for it at Facebook.”
In related news, Facebook has launched a brand new video app and it is called Lasso. In an attempt to court the youths who have been fleeing from its flagship platform, the social media giant has once again dipped into its bag of tricks and pulled out a TikTok clone.
By essence, Lasso is a music-filled video sharing app that Facebook has reportedly been working on since October. It is available now for iOS and Android.
Facebook describes Lasso as an app that “makes it easy for anyone to create and share short videos with fun effects.” The app will allow users to follow other creators, search for content using hashtags and create new, short videos using a suite of creative tools. Facebook makes sure to note that the app includes a “massive music library,” which leverages it to take a shot at TikTok, an app that has gained popularity with lip sync videos.
It is worth noting that Facebook owns Lasso; hence, it is strategically integrated into the company’s ecosystem. By doing so, users can easily sign in using an Instagram or Facebook account (or create one if they have managed to avoid the platform for this long).
The app will then require accessing their profile page, photos, and videos. When they make their own videos on Lasso, the will be able to share them directly to their respective Facebook Story. A similar compatibility with Instagram stories is coming later this year, according to official reports.
Users can get Lasso, which Facebook rolled out very quietly, and is already available for download. The app already is filled with content, suggesting the app may have been able to a small group of community members before its public release.
The new Facebook app is not entirely new in the industry. Nonetheless, it is interesting to see just how it is going to compete with its contemporaries.