If conservatives think dealing with Google is hard from the outside, they should try coping with its “outrage mobs and witch hunts” from the inside, a Google employee writes in an expansive indictment of the tech giant’s corporate culture.
Mike Wacker, a Google software engineer and self-identified Republican, took to Medium on Tuesday and posted an expansive and detailed picture of the troubles facing a conservative trying to survive life inside Google.
The post does more than give a glimpse into a hostile corporate culture. Wacker drew a connection between the hostility to conservatives he has experienced to the extensive claims that Google censors and blacklists conservative sites.
As Wacker noted, “once you control who belongs at Google, you can control what content belongs on Google.”
Why do Google employees walkout for censorship against China, but won’t lift a finger on censorship against their fellow Americans? https://t.co/4F0PJtDtIW
— Lisa Haven (@Lisa_Haven) May 21, 2019
In a recent commentary piece on Fox News, Dan Gainor, vice president for TechWatch, business and culture at the Media Research Center, framed the issue of censoring conservatives and Google’s impact on global communications this way:
“Can free speech and free press survive when one company controls more than 92 percent of the search market for all of mankind?”
In a statement to The Daily Caller, a representative for Google did not directly address Wacker’s comments, but said, “to make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”
Wacker wrote that Google is more than just hostile to employees, it is hurtful to the wider world.
Huge scoop by @LibertarianBlue! Remember, it’s not about where the blacklist begins (i.e., Alex Jones), but where the blacklist ends. And the blacklist won’t end at @RealCandaceO either… https://t.co/7oryf2bwCR
— Mike Wacker (@m_wacker) May 18, 2019
“Google has become a company where outrage mobs and witch hunts dominate its culture. These outrage mobs and witch hunts have become an existential threat not only to Google’s culture internally, but to Google’s trust and credibility externally,” he wrote.
Wacker offered some examples, such as when Google was a sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2018.
“Well, let’s just ask the outrage mobs at Google that succeeded. One outrage mob formed when Google sponsored CPAC, and they created an internal petition titled, ‘Google, Don’t Sponsor Hate.” Another outrage mob formed when Kay Coles James, President of the Heritage Foundation, was appointed to an [artificial intelligence] ethics panel, and they created an external petition from a Medium account called ‘Googlers Against Transphobia and Hate.’
“But don’t worry, these outrage mobs are not opposed to all conservatives. They are only opposed to the ‘hateful’ conservatives,” Wacker wrote.
Several times in his post, Wacker explained the connection between internal corporate politics and Google’s role as a communications giant in the world at large.
“[T]he goal of these outrage mobs and witch hunts is the same: to control who belongs at Google. More importantly, if you can control who belongs at Google, then you can also control what content belongs on Google,” he wrote.
“If the people who work at Google — or who feel psychologically safe expressing their opinions at Google — are only the ones who think that CPAC and Kay Coles James are hateful, then don’t be surprised if, one day in the future, hate speech is used as a pretext to censor CPAC or Kay Coles James and remove their content from Google’s platforms.”
Wacker then focused on Google’s Human Resources department. He noted that he personally ran afoul of the rules while managing an internal mailing list for Republicans.
“My role as the republicans@ owner has also made me a prime target for the outrage mobs and witch hunts. On March 6, 2019, I was pulled into a meeting of my own with my management and HR. During that meeting, I received a final written warning, and I received a verbal offer of 8 weeks of severance pay if I left the company. That verbal offer of severance was an implied threat of termination. While they never said it explicitly, it was clear that if I didn’t take that offer, they would invent some pretext to fire me shortly thereafter,” he wrote.
The expected termination never happened, he wrote, noting that the expected termination hasn’t taken place “due to an unexpected series of events.”
“But on the bright side, at least we now know the definition of ‘hate speech’ that Google HR uses: anything that Google’s activists perceive as hateful. And to explain just how insane that standard is, at one point, I asked one of these activists if I had correctly summarized their views: ‘So to be clear, Google can’t fund groups that espouse pro-life views, and if Google does, then “How do we expect women to work here?” Their response: ‘Correct.’”
Wacker said allowing only one frame of reference is dangerous.
“If left unchecked, these outrage mobs will hunt down any conservative, any Christian, and any independent free thinker at Google who does not bow down to their agenda,” he wrote.
Those who refuse, he wrote, will have the choice of being silenced or leaving.
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