Here we go again. There are new stories today being breathlessly spouted by the alt-right, and being picked up by mainstream media, about internal Google emails showing employees discussing possible ways to “leverage” search results to help push back against Trump’s racist travel ban in January 2017, shortly after his inauguration.
The key aspect to note about this media brouhaha is that NONE of those ideas were EVER implemented. And the discussions themselves include participants noting why they shouldn’t be.
These discussions were the personal thoughts of individual Googlers, who are encouraged by Google to speak as openly as possible internally to help assure that Google has a wide range of opinions as input to decision-making on an ongoing basis.
I experienced this firsthand during the period ending several years ago when I consulted to Google. I had never seen such an open exchange of ideas at any large firm before. I was absolutely in awe of this — and actively participated in many internal discussions — because such interchange is an incredibly important asset — not only to Google, but to its users and to the world at large.
You want to avoid whenever possible having employees self-censoring internally about controversial matters. You want the maximum practicable interchange of ideas, many of which by definition will never actually be implemented.
We’d frankly have a much better world if such open internal discussions took place at all firms and other organizations.
What’s so appalling about this situation is that there are (or were) individuals inside Google who would purposely leak such internal discussions, obviously in the hopes of generating exactly the kinds of fanatical Google hate being demonstrated by the alt-right and their allies, and to try stifle the kinds of open internal discussions that are so important to us all.