“As you’re probably aware, we’re currently the focus of extensive media coverage based on a swatch of internal documents,” read the internal memo. “As is often the case following this kind of reporting a number of inquiries from governments and legislative bodies have been launched into the company’s operations. To comply with these inquiries, we need to preserve documents and communications since 2016 — this is known as a “Legal Hold.”
The memo suggests that the whistleblower’s allegations are having wide-ranging effects, as governments around the world take notice of the documents and begin to pursue potential action as a result. It also shows that the company is on high-alert over the ongoing fallout from the revelations.
The legal notice that went out Tuesday night was met with relatively less chatter from rank-and-file workers on the company’s internals chat system, known as Workplace, said a person familiar with the communications said who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak about sensitive matters. The person noted that it was the latest sign that the typically vocal employee base is becoming quieter because leadership is cracking down on internal dissent and on leaks.
The company recently said it was also limiting access among rank-and-file employees to Workplace discussions among teams that tackle topics such as platform safety and integrity, according to people familiar with the edict and news reports.
The company wide notice was first reported by the New York Times.
Employees were specifically instructed to complete a Google Form to indicate that they understand that all communications across Google docs, Workplace, Messenger, Drobox, Quip, Wikis, and other services will be retained. Employees were instructed to turn off any auto-deletion programs.
Notably, WhatsApp, the company’s encrypted messaging platform, is not entirely subject to the hold. The memo said employees do not need to preserve communications “exclusively” about WhatsApp, but communications on WhatsApp about other matters would need to be preserved. Personal communications are excluded, the company said.