Report: Googlers Warned Against Political Influence On Products

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In short: Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly sent out a memo recently warning Google employees against allowing political views to influence the company's products and services. User trust is the company's greatest asset, the reminder points out, and must be protected against any and all bias that would take away from that. Moreover, allowing political biases to influence a product or service is strictly against long-standing company policy. As such, Pichai says, any Googler who does not adhere to the policy or who undermines user trust will "be held accountable."

Background: Google has faced increasing criticism from politicians, including President Trump, alleging that its search results are biased against conservative content and in favor of 'anti-Trump' content and sites. The speculation has been bolstered by reports that internal discussions about its search engine have had a somewhat political bent and videos of top Google brass expressing concerns about the Trump administration. Specifically, just days prior to the memo, reports surfaced containing contents alleged to have leaked from Googlers discussing whether or not to adjust search results to counter apparent bias in response to immigration policies and other administration goals. Before that, Google co-founder and Alphabet, Inc. President Sergey Brin was shown on video expressing personal disdain at the 2016 election results and actively participating in protests in response to immigration policies.

However, Google has repeatedly denied having any political leanings whatsoever on the user-facing side of things, although it has publicly supported responses against immigration policies and other government measures. Its products, the company says, are engineered to have no political affiliation or bias even if the company itself involves itself politically in the legislative and regulatory matters.

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Impact: Whether or not the alleged leaked memo helps to assuage fears about political tampering by one of the world's foremost technology companies remains to be seen. The most recent allegations follow on other, apparently unrelated claims made against the company, such as accusations about deceptive location data tracking and anti-competitive policies. Coupled with previous statements and explanations from the search giant, in addition to site changes under circumstances that warranted those, it also seems to indicate that Google is at least taking claims made against itself seriously.

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Junior Editor

Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]

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