There are many people who believe a job at a company like Facebook or Google would be wonderful, but as The Guardian reports, the public image companies like these put forward may be more of a façade. While any company will take measures to protect its intellectual property, some Silicon Valley companies are apparently going to extremes that involve extensive digital and physical surveillance, as well as incentives to keep secrets after leaving the company. One example of this is from a former Facebook employee who was brought before the "rat-catching" team after he had leaked some "innocuous information" to the press. The team had records of screenshots he had taken, links he had clicked on or just hovered over, and apparently the team also indicated they had viewed chats he had with the journalist prior to him even joining the company.
This former employee also pointed out that at Facebook, a lot of information is made available to everyone, such as that on upcoming products you are not associated with, and thus have no need to be aware of. The tradeoff to being trusted with all of this information is that if you step out of line, "they'll squash you like a bug." This kind of trusting environment is also used to create a tribal mentality, making people less like to betray it with leaks, but according to some this also results in problems being left alone. One former Google employee says he had to deal with a manager that had anger management problems that no one would do anything about until a vice president actually witnessed the manager yelling at him in a hallway.
While potentially surveilling the activities of employees is one thing, apparently the contractors, who are not full employees of the company but still do a great deal of work for them, can have things even worse because of how easily they can be fired. The Guardian got to look at a contract signed by a European Facebook content moderator that allowed the company to monitor and record his social media activities, including his personal Facebook account, emails, phone calls, and Internet use. When on company premises his belongings could also be searched and refusing would be considered gross misconduct. The Guardian also states security teams at these companies may use USB drives as traps, leaving them out to see how the staff reacts to them. If someone after finding it actually connects it to a computer, they are escorted out of the building.
There are more stories and details on some of what Silicon Valley companies are doing and what it is possible for them to do at the source link, so check it out if you are curious.
Source: The Guardian
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