Former employee accuses Google of not taking human rights seriously; Google says it has "unwavering commitment" to human rights efforts

Author: NBC News, Published on: 7 January 2020

“Google pursued profits over free speech in China, former head of international relations says”, 3 January 2020

An expert in human rights who spent more than a decade at Google and directed its international diplomacy says the tech giant pushed him out… Ross LaJeunesse, who is now a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in his native Maine, said in a blog post… that Google abandoned its former, famous motto “Don’t be evil” as potential business in countries such as China and Saudi Arabia became too enticing. “Just when Google needed to double down on a commitment to human rights, it decided to instead chase bigger profits and an even higher stock price,” he said... Google said in a statement that the company has an “unwavering commitment” to human rights organizations and efforts.

LaJeunesse said that, while still at Google, he pushed for the adoption of a company-wide human rights program that would review new products as they were developed and assess the human rights impact of all major product launches and market entries… “But each time I recommended a Human Rights Program, senior executives came up with an excuse to say no,” he wrote…

... After the fight over Dragonfly, LaJeunesse said he “realized that the company had never intended to incorporate human rights principles into its business and product decisions.”… LaJeunesse said his job was eliminated as part of a reorganization of Google’s policy team, and that after he hired a lawyer, Google offered him “a small role in exchange for my acquiescence and silence.” He said he decided to leave. Google, in its statement… said he was offered a position at the same level and compensation… [Also referred to Facebook]

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Related companies: Facebook Google (part of Alphabet)