Google Has the Alt-Right Running Scared


There’s an old saying that it’s often difficult to “see the forest for the trees” — meaning that the details can obscure our ability to understand the overall aspects of a situation. But this past week, we’ve had an unusual opportunity to get an “overhead” view of the racist, sexist, antisemitic alt-right in operation, and the patterns that have emerged are of significant interest.

In particular, fired Googler James Damore’s rapid embrace of the alt-right, and their reciprocal embrace of him as their “useful idiot” of the moment, are extremely telling, especially the latter’s public targeting of individual Google employees (please see: “Google Employees Are Being Targeted by Alt-Right Racists” – https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/08/10/google-employees-are-being-targeted-by-alt-right-racists). 

If you mainly frequent “mainstream” media, I don’t blame you if you’re not aware of this twisted new romance and its direct ties to the pro-Trump media machine, all well documented in this excellent article.

After all, exploring the sordid swamps of alt-right websites is not everyone’s cup of tea.

But if you take the time to do so (I recommend not doing this after a meal, by the way) it quickly becomes obvious why wannabe Nazis (and the genuine Nazis, for that matter) have so quickly elevated Damore to alt-right hero status, already weaving his interviews — that he gleefully provided to alt-right superstars — into their propaganda writings and videos, with a full-bore attack against Google.

It’s all about the money.

For most of their existence, the major search and social media firms have generally treated the vast majority of content as being pretty much equivalent in terms of their appropriateness, a laissez–faire approach as it were, with the exception of clearly illegal materials.

But especially in the wake of Trump’s election, it has become clear that the essentially egalitarian nature of related ad network systems in particular have provided a massive funding stream to the worst of the alt-right hate sites and their affiliated fake news and propaganda operations, which — under the influence of their Russian masters — played a major role in electing the vile, lying sociopath now (occasionally, when he’s not playing golf) in the Oval Office.

Recently, the major firms like Google, Facebook, and others have taken steps that many of us have long recommended, and have begun more rigorously enforcing their existing Terms of Service (TOS) to reign in hate speech content that has been suckling on their ad money teats for far too long. These firms are free to determine what is or is not suitable for their platforms. The First Amendment — frequently touted by the hate groups — only applies to government actions related to speech.

Fact-checking systems are being deployed by Google and Facebook. Google has taken steps to eliminate monetization of various hate-related materials, especially in the case of YouTube videos. Google’s YouTube is also taking actions to prevent many hate and associated videos from appearing in “suggested video” listings, further limiting the reach of this vile content.

While it could be argued (and in fact I have argued) that much of this material should be removed from these platforms entirely under TOS rules, the paradigms of preventing the monetization of hate speech, and limiting its ability to surface for unsuspecting users who never asked to see it, appear to be useful approaches.

And if you visit the alt-right swamp sites, you’ll quickly see the panic ensuing over the realization that their income flows from the mainstream ad systems and ad networks are at serious risk.

Which brings us back to James Damore, who seems (likely unknowingly) to be playing a 2017 version of the unenviable role “Fool King for a Day” from the classic 1973 film “The Wicker Man.”

The alt-right doesn’t actually care about Damore of course. They see him as an easily disposable figurehead. He’s someone that they can use to amplify their ranting displeasure with Google’s finally taking reasonable actions to reign in the monetization of alt-right hate, lies, and other bile. He’s someone to carry high on a paper mache throne as they march on Google offices in a desperate attempt to regain their previous ability to leverage these platforms for their hate, lies, and other evils.

Some in the alt-right have already accurately concluded that their efforts in these regards will very likely fail, so they’re calling for their hate-brethren to create their own search and social media ecosystems — all hate all the time, as it were. Some such systems are already operational. To assist with their site branding, I’ll note that a serviceable Swastika is available as Unicode character U+534D (you might want to flip it over to match Third Reich standards, but that’s up to you).

I approve of such “all the rotten apples in a few barrels” approaches. 

I do not call for government censorship of their evil rants. If they wish to use their own systems for their vile propaganda, and solicit funds from like-minded creatures of the night, I have no objection, so long as the flow of click income from unsuspecting, ethical folks visiting mainstream sites has been eliminated.

Once you get above the treetops, the shape of the forest can be fairly straightforward to discern, and so it is with the war between the alt-right and Google.

Keep up the good work Google. We’re proud of you.

–Lauren–

Google Employees Are Being Targeted by Alt-Right Racists


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.

–Lauren–

Reactions to My Own “Google Manifesto”


UPDATE (August 10, 2017): Google Employees Are Being Targeted by Alt-Right Racists

– – –

The now fired Google employee who wrote the now infamous sexist internal memo has been busy giving interviews to alt-right racists of the worst kind, where he’s spouting fake science of the same sort promoted by segregationists decades ago, and blaming everyone but himself for this situation.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading the reactions to Here’s My Own Damned “Google Manifesto” that I posted less than 24 hours ago. Some of these are in various public venues, most are arriving in my inbox –(https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/08/09/heres-my-own-damned-google-manifesto).

We can leave aside for now the majority of these reactions — which agree with me that Google not only was correct to fire that jerk, but really had no ethical alternative to doing so. I appreciate these of course, but they don’t provide us with the really interesting data.

On the other hand, the negative reactions are most telling.

A relative few attempt to make reasoned arguments in favor of the ex-Googler, but of course fail miserably since the “science” arguments on which he based his rant are so fundamentally and completely flawed.

But polite disagreements are always welcome.

As you’ve no doubt surmised by now, the vast bulk of the disagreeing reactions were anything but polite.

It’s not just that they’re vile, crude, obscene, sexist, racist, antisemitic, threatening, and otherwise so despicable. What’s fascinating is how just plain stupid the authors appear to be.

Apparently most of them dropped out of school at third grade. Or perhaps its inbreeding. In any case, you’d be hard pressed to find a more illustrative collection of alt-right morons — incapable of correctly writing sentences even of just a few words, spelling skills roughly equivalent to your average brick, and of course “stuck” caps-lock keys. Many are unable to even spell common obscenities correctly. Sad!

Perhaps most amusing are the ones who incorrectly assume from my first name that I’m female (and have apparently never bothered to view my “official” photo — https://lauren.vortex.com/lauren.jpg), and so are not only using inappropriate obscene terminology for referencing me, but are also rudely and obscenely suggesting physically impossible personal interactions.

I don’t often quote the Bible, but Proverbs 13:20 seems appropriate here:

Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.

In other words, you’re judged by the company you keep.

And given the sexists, racists, antisemites, and other alt-right lowlifes with which our ex-Googler has now allied himself, I’d assert that we’re getting a clearer picture every day of how deeply permeating this particular fool’s twisted belief structure has become.

One thing’s for sure. Google is well rid of him.

–Lauren–

Here’s My Own Damned “Google Manifesto”


UPDATE (August 10, 2017): Reactions to My Own “Google Manifesto”

– – –

I feel like vomiting. Since the saga of the leaked, sexist “manifesto” authored by a (most appropriately fired) ex-Google employee started to hit the media, I’ve been feeling increasingly ill.

Not just ill. Also depressed. And angry. The last is the worst. I don’t like to be angry. As the old TV meme says, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

I’ve been writing about this for days and doing multiple radio interviews on the topic. Each time, I’m even more angry.

I don’t care much about the jerky ex-Googler himself, whom we now know performed a sexist skit at Harvard for which the administration formally apologized — making it clear that his sexist attitudes were not suddenly formed after he joined Google.

Nor do I care about his educational background — I’ve known great scientists who couldn’t punch their way out of a paper bag when it comes to understanding the real issues of people and social policies.

Hell, he’s still young, and perhaps he can still be salvaged.

Or perhaps not, given the example of a vile, 71-year-old sociopath, by all accounts a sexist and serial woman abuser since his youth, now splitting his time between playing President of the United States and playing golf while running up a historic leisure travel bill on the taxpayers’ dime.

So it’s not really the immature kid’s manifesto alone that is most sickening — it’s the reactions after it was leaked from Google that show the depths of depravity that creatures like Donald Trump have normalized.

It’s therefore not surprising that criminals and other alt-right, racist superstars of the worst sort have rushed to the defense of the fired Googler, and are proclaiming boycotts against Google.

Good luck with that, guys.

In fact, the racist, sexist, antisemitic Nazis and Nazi-wannabees — or in other words, a large percentage of Trump’s support base — have been increasingly pissed off at Google, Google’s YouTube, and other major Silicon Valley firms.

Why? Because observers (including myself) have been urging these firms to stop treating the lying, fake news, false propaganda spewing sites as if they were legitimate news or fact sources, and now the large search and social media firms are beginning to crack down on those endless spews of violent hate speech and the Russian-directed lie machines. It particularly irks the hate-complex when they can no longer monetize their filth or use major suggestion engines to try sucker in new converts.

In a horrid, ironic way we probably need to thank Trump for the fact that the dangers represented by the white supremacists and their assorted bands of cronies have finally became too obvious to be ignored, now that they’ve gone public after crawling out from under their rocks.

And I for one don’t care in the least how long it took for these major firms to finally act against them — the point is that actions are now being taken, and everyone who cares about keeping the USA great, and not permitting it to be flushed down the toilet of racist, sexist, alt-right sickos, should be supporting these ongoing anti-hate efforts.

The fired Googler case isn’t even a close call. His sexist manifesto was chocked-full of the same kind of fake science, fake extrapolations, garbage arguments that you can find virtually word for word in old essays arguing that blacks are inferior and unsuitable for technical jobs of any kind.

Disseminating that kind of garbage inside Google, without Google then taking action to condemn his screed, would have led to a toxic work environment — especially for women — that Google could not ignore. To NOT have fired him would have been absolutely wrong. He ended his own ability to effectively work in the team-oriented environment of Google going forward. He wrote what he wanted to write, but seemingly didn’t understand that one must be responsible for the consequences of your words on your coworkers.

Of course, the fact that the Nazi crowd has rallied around that author doesn’t mean that the problem is solely in their sphere.

That fact is that Google — like virtually all tech-oriented firms — has had diversity problems and has been working diligently to improve the diversity of their own workplace. That’s part of what makes the now fired Google employee’s manifesto so harmful — it was seemingly calculated to throw a monkey wrench into Google’s efforts in this regard.

And to be utterly clear about this, these diversity issues when it comes to women in the tech workplace have nothing whatever to do with “biology” as he claimed — but have everything to do with men treating women like dirt, as I’ve seen throughout my career and noted in: “Meet the Guys: The Jerks of Computer Science” – https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/02/27/meet-the-guys-the-jerks-of-computer-science

So these problems are not new, but we now face the specter of the alt-right racists and their ilk — cheered on by Donald Trump and his cronies — trying to turn back the clock to normalize or even expand conduct that is unacceptable in any civilized 21st century society.

There is no more middle ground. The time for neutral stances regarding sexism, racism, and associated hate leaders and hate groups has long since passed.

If you do not take a firm stance against such hate, you are by definition helping to pave the way for the expansion of its malignancies.

When firms like Google — imperfect as are we all — act to push back on sexism, racism, and other hate as in this case and more generally across their ecosystems — they should be strongly supported in those actions.

In a very real sense, we’ve reached the point where we each must decide if we’re absolutely and firmly opposed to alt-right and other hatemongers, or if we’re willing to continue tolerating them, and so in essence tacitly partnering with them. None of us can sit this one out.

Make your choice.

–Lauren–

Audio from My Radio Discussion About the Leaked Google “Diversity” Manifesto Controversy


Last night I spoke for several minutes on the national “Coast to Coast AM” radio program about the controversy over the Google employee who wrote an inflammatory internal post regarding Google’s diversity efforts, in which he asserted that women are biologically unsuited for technical work. That document was leaked from Google and has now become a global story.

The MP3 audio file of my interview for download is:

https://lauren.vortex.com/lauren-c2c-8-6-2017.mp3

or you can hear it directly via this player:

Brief segments of this clip at the beginning and end include discussion of an unrelated social media issue in the United Kingdom.

My full blog post regarding this Manifesto controversy is:

“A Googler’s Leaked Google ‘Diversity’ Manifesto — Lose-Lose-Lose” – https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/08/05/a-googlers-leaked-google-diversity-manifesto-lose-lose-lose

As always, my thanks to show host George Noory and the entire C2C team for so frequently providing me the opportunity to discuss the realities of technology and technology policy issues with their very large audience. Background information about the program is at: 

https://www.wired.com/2006/02/coast-to-coast-am-is-no-wack-job/

Be seeing you.

–Lauren–