Facebook has reportedly been cracking down on employees’ nonstop chatter on company message boards about at-home farming and DIY face masks

  • Facebook employees were told to cut back on “idle chatter” on the company’s internal message boards, according to a new report from The New York Times.
  • Employees were reportedly posting tips for at-home farming and instructions for making your own face masks.
  • Facebook has historically encouraged working in the office and has pushed for in-person meetings, but the company has shifted completely to remote work amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The shift has caused growing pains for employees as well as technological challenges.
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Like any company affected by the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook appears to be having some growing pains when it comes to shifting employees to remote work.

According to a new report from The New York Times’ Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel, Facebook has had to crack down on “idle chatter” on the company’s online message boards.

Employees have reportedly been posting on the boards nonstop since employees began working from home, and while some have been posting tips for working remotely, others have been sharing information about finding “heirloom seeds for at-home farming,” as well as posts with instructions for sewing your own face mask, one Facebook employee told The Times.

As a result, managers on the engineering teams reportedly sent employees a message instructing them to cut back on posting on the message boards.

A spokesperson for Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Facebook typically encourages employees to work in the office, and pushes for in-person meetings as much as possible, describing them as “an important element of our culture.” The shift to all employees working remotely is new for Facebook, and the company reportedly handed out $US1,000 bonuses to help support the move to at-home work.

But the change is creating technological challenges as well: Employees are reportedly struggling to connect on video chat services, and last week, a bug caused Facebook to incorrectly block news articles about the coronavirus.

Facebook recommended employees work from home beginning in early March. Since then, the San Francisco Bay Area, where Facebook is based, has issued a shelter-in-place order until April 7 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order to stay at home on March 19.

On Tuesday, San Francisco reported its first death due to the coronavirus. The city currently has 152 confirmed cases of the virus, while the Bay Area as a whole has reported 1,023 cases.