A few days ago, Google engineer Mike Wacker published a tell-all which described “a company where outrage mobs and witch hunts dominate its culture.” He called these threats “existential” and said they are undermining both the internal workplace environment but also public trust and credibility.
On May 21, 2019, Wacker commented on the fact that many tech companies, including Google, have imposed official policies targeting what they began to call, in recent years, hate speech.
A Facebook representative spoke for the entire tech industry’s rush toward speech-limiting community standards:
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.”
That may be true for religious ideology, but recent celebrity bans from social media suggest that political leaning is the current basis for social and professional discrimination.
Wacker asked and answered the question, “So what exactly is the definition of hate speech?”
The Google worker pointed to two successful workplace outrage mobs:
One outrage mob formed when Google sponsored the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). This angry group created and circulated an internal petition titled, “Google, Don’t Sponsor Hate.” The only word missing was the last one: “Liberals.”
Another outrage mob reported by Wacker formed when rightward-leaning Kay Coles James, President of the controversial Heritage Foundation, was appointed to an artificial intelligence (AI) advisory council earlier this year. As covered by The Verge:
“Google today disclosed that it has dissolved a short-lived, external advisory board designed to monitor its use of artificial intelligence, following a week of controversy regarding the company’s selection of members. The decision, reported first today by Vox, is largely due to outcry over the board’s inclusion of Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James, a noted conservative figure who has openly espoused anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and, through the Heritage Foundation, fought efforts to extend rights to transgender individuals and to combat climate change.”
Thousands of employees signed an external petition from a Medium account called “Googlers Against Transphobia and Hate.”
The Washington Times published an editorial on April 7, 2019, which opined:
“In their frantic efforts to portray Mrs. James as a monster because her views differ from theirs on issues as varied as immigration, climate change, and Judeo-Christian teachings, the leftists reveal their hatred and disdain for free thought, free speech and religious freedom.”
Here was Google’s corporate spin on the politically-tainted matter concerning their ill-fated Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), according to Vox:
“It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted. So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board. We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics.”
Wacker claimed he was targeted by a Google outrage mob, partly because he operates an internal social mailing list for Republicans. He also warned that mob demands are incompatible with free speech and legal, due process, equating suppressed speech with physical violence:
“More and more, we’ve heard claims that speech is violence, and the outrage mob against Kay Coles James was no exception to that trend. Thus, it’s important that your definition of violence doesn’’ endorse this notion that speech is violence.”
Wacker pointed his finger at Google’s Human Resources Department and said they are hurting, not helping, the situation:
“Allegedly, Google is a company that supports freedom of expression, but Google is also a company where you can get in trouble with HR for defending Jordan Peterson’s stance that the government cannot compel speech, including compelling the usage of preferred pronouns.”
Wacker also revealed the tale of an employee who shared a National Review article, only to be reported to HR.
Echoing other politically conservative Americans, Wacker wrote:
“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. Anyone who stands up to them will be hounded until they either shut the f*** up or they ‘get the f*** out.'”
Wacker concluded by repeating that “once you control who belongs at Google, you can control what content belongs on Google.”
These observations hold true for each and every online services provider. Make no mistake about it: social media and banking bans targeting conservatives has the ultimate goal of determining whose voices get to be heard.
Are you okay with that?