Google’s anti-Trump bias may be happening higher up the corporate ladder than initially believed.
While the company first indicated that only junior employees led brainstorming on how to alter the search engine to counter the Trump administration’s travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries, FOX Business has learned several employees on the email chain held management-level positions.
Three of the people involved in the discussion include Meryl Stone, now head of consumer partnerships at Google, Clement Wolf, a global public policy manager, and Stacie Chan, a global product partnerships manager.
Google later walked back the narrative that only junior-level employees entertained the idea to manipulate Google search functions to promote their own political biases, explaining further that no company executives were part of the conversation.
The tech giant said it does not plan to take any action against anyone involved in the discourse because “spitballing” ways to change the platform does not violate company policy.
Google said they encourage the free flow of ideas within the company, adding that sometimes those ideas fall flat or aren’t viable. The company said they hadn’t issued any memo company-wide warning against this type of strategy session and don’t plan to do anything to stop something similar from happening again.
Late Friday, The Wall Street Journal and other publications reported that Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent an email to employees telling them to avoid letting personal politics influence their work. Pichai also denied allegations that the company sought to alter search results for political purposes.
“We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda,” Mr. Pichai said. “The trust our users place in us is our greatest asset and we must always protect it. If any Googler ever undermines that trust, we will hold them accountable.”
Google also drew criticism last week after a leaked video showed executives at a staff meeting lamenting Trump’s victory in the 2016 election.