In a post earlier today — Reactions to My Own “Google Manifesto” (https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/08/10/reactions-to-my-own-google-manifesto) — I noted the level of moronic, racist, antisemitic, and other alt-right bile that I’ve received in response to Here’s My Own Damned “Google Manifesto” (https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/08/09/heres-my-own-damned-google-manifesto), which was posted a day earlier.
Now I’m hearing from Googlers — Google employees, some of whom I’ve known for years — who feel physically threatened by the escalating situation triggered by the sexist proclamations of now fired Googler James Damore, who has allied himself with alt-right racists, and apparently is now comparing the well-paid, perk-rich jobs at Google with Soviet-era forced labor (at least if we judge from the newly featured “Goolag” t-shirt on what appears to be his new Twitter account — which is currently unconfirmed).
But it’s not this twisted clown that is of primary concern. Alt-right superstars are latching onto these circumstances in ways that threaten actual physical violence — which is of course in keeping with their Nazi heritage.
Individual Googlers who argued against Damore’s sexist manifesto — their identities made public when internal Google discussions were leaked — are being targeted by alt-right superstars and others in the alt-right ecosystem — in postings that have enormous readerships. Plans for potentially violent marches on Google offices have also been announced.
Back when I was consulting to Google several years ago, I never would have imagined that leaking of this sort or magnitude would ever take place, particularly leaks that could foreseeably trigger physical violence of the worst sort.
This is an intolerable state of affairs.
That we’ve reached this dangerous juncture is a direct consequence of normalizing racist, antisemitic, sexist hate groups thanks to the tacit support of Donald Trump and his white supremacist cronies.
And the tech industry overall bears responsibility as well. As a group we were far too slow to recognize that the racist and otherwise lying hate spew of “fake news” and false rhetoric — pouring forth from the “new” alt-right and traditional white supremacist groups — cannot safely be permitted to monetize or otherwise leverage our search and social media platforms to spread their filth.
For many years I’ve been battling against the prevalent attitude in tech that our job is just to build the systems and let the content fall where it may — “all content created equal” as it were.
All content is not equal. And by handing these groups our giant megaphones of servers, switches, and bandwidth, we are complicit in the monstrousness that has now been unleashed — not just here in the USA, but around the world.
We helped to release this evil genie from his bottle. As extraordinarily difficult as the task will be, it’s our responsibility to stuff him back inside.