It’s not unusual for companies to monitor social media in order to ‘protect’ their brands; Microsoft, for example, makes dossiers on journalists who write about the company. Yet Walmart allegedly “is always watching” and went the extra distance to spy on employees by hiring defense contractor Lockheed Martin and allegedly even received help from the FBI.
Walmart was most interested in gathering surveillance of employees involved with the group OUR Walmart which planned Black Friday protests in 2012. OUR Walmart was advocating for higher wages, predictable schedules, better healthcare coverage, and the right to unionize. Walmart’s surveillance efforts were described in over 1,000 pages of “emails, reports, playbooks, charts, and graphs as well as testimony,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek which reviewed the documents. The testimony, which was given earlier this year to the National Labor Relations Board, claims Walmart hired Lockheed Martin and received help from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.