There was a brief time in recent history when tech companies seemed to be leading a renaissance in corporate social responsibility. Then came reports about sweatshop suicides, data breaches, and the peddling of user data.
Those reports revealed that these companies are every bit as irresponsible as the ones that led the industrial revolution. But no tech company is proving more hypocritical in this respect than Google.
Google agreed to help China’s totalitarian government spy on and censor its citizens’ use of the Internet in exchange for market access.
The headline for this latest example of corporate hypocrisy should read, ‘Google enters China but leaves its conscience back home.’
Google was the last bastion of corporate conscience in this brave new world of technology. And, it solemnized our faith in its corporate motto – ‘Don’t be evil’ – when it refused China’s previous censorship demands. Therefore, we are constrained to wonder if the googlenaires have now decided that it’s better to be evil and filthy rich, than to be good and just super rich?
(“Google Adopts Bush Administration Mott of Moral Relativism,” The iPINIONS Journal, January 26, 2006)
In fact, Google’s anti-democratic perfidy has even extended to helping China build upon its “Great Firewall” by blocking online access to The Washington Post and The Guardian. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that Google has censored any reference to the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square from its search engine for China.
Censorship in China includes returning no results for searches that depict Chinese police or military brutality (such as the Tiananmen Square massacre), pro-democracy sites, sites linked with the Dalai Lama, and anything related to Taiwanese or Tibetan independence.
(The Independent, April 8, 2018)
Because not a single person recognized its most iconic picture, namely that of one man stopping and staring down a column of military tanks. This evidence of mass ignorance must have provided tremendous relief to the Chinese bureau of mind control.
Meanwhile, Google clearly hoped to deflect charges of hypocrisy by changing its corporate motto from “Don’t be evil” to “Do the right thing.” But, as that CBS survey demonstrated, those charges are still warranted. After all, Google is not only failing to do the right thing; it is even conspiring with the Chinese government to be evil.