The Google Walkout Doesn’t Go Far Enough

The group and its supporters are advocating for five key changes. They want

  1. an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination;
  2. a commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity;
  3. a publicly disclosed sexual-harassment transparency report;
  4. a clear, uniform, and globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously; and
  5. promotion of the chief diversity officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the board of directors, along with the appointment of an employee representative to the board.

.. The Google walkout, in particular, has done a great job of raising awareness of company wrongdoings, but at the end of the day, Google is a for-profit corporation. The way to negotiate with a for-profit corporation isn’t through symbolism, but by jeopardizing profits.

.. “If women and men and anyone who supports these efforts had an actual strike, then you’d see lasting change,” Prashar said. “They need to say we’re not going to work unless these things actually change.” He also doesn’t see lasting changes coming from Google itself, or any other for-profit tech company for that matter. “It would be brilliant for businesses to do this [protect workers from sexual harassment and punish abusers], but to create a countrywide change, it’s going to require state and federal government to come in and change the laws too.”

Conservatives have embraced the idea that nothing is nonpartisan

About half of Hillary Clinton’s supporters in 2016 didn’t have any close friends who supported Donald Trump. The result is that partisans tend to see the other party as actively harmful to the country.

.. Critiques predicated on making insincere claims to affect future behavior is referred to as “working the referees.” Social media companies aren’t as used to this tactic.

.. The video shows senior executives expressing frustration about Trump’s victory, certainly, but as Gizmodo notes, several of those executives are themselves immigrants. There’s no discussion about the company actively working to squelch opposing viewpoints through its technology. That’s simply presented by Parscale as an almost natural extension of the political views expressed by the company executives.

In other words, Parscale seems to be assuming (or is at least suggesting) that the executives’ views alone are evidence that the tools are biased against their political opponents.

.. If you assume that Democrats are all hyper-ideological and an active threat to the country, you’re probably less prone to give a Democrat (or, for that matter, a Trump critic) the benefit of the doubt that they’re acting objectively. Particularly when sources you trust are arguing constantly that those individuals’ actions aren’t objective and fair.

.. Does Attorney General Jeff Sessions truly think that tech companies are biased against conservatives? Is he simply working the refs? Is he trying to score much-needed points with his boss, for whom this is a regularly cited issue? It’s hard to say. Among rank-and-file Republicans, though, it’s likely that concern about and skepticism of the political left makes it much easier for them to assume that Google’s executives aren’t just lamenting Trump’s presidency on video but also actively trying to cripple it behind the scenes.

There’s an irony undergirding all of this, particularly Parscale’s tweet. During the 2016 campaign, Parscale ran the Trump team’s digital advertising efforts, which included spending tens of millions of dollars on Facebook ads, leveraging Facebook staff who embedded with the campaign to guide their strategy. Of all the ways in which Facebook directly and indirectly helped Trump win the presidency, none was more important than that ad-buying partnership, as Parscale well knows.

In other words, Parscale certainly knows how to work tech companies for Trump’s political benefit. In 2018, though, positioning those liberal-run companies as inherently biased is a better use of his political capital.

Why Online Politics Gets So Extreme So Fast | The Ezra Klein Show

During the 2016 campaign, Zeynep Tufekci was watching videos of Donald Trump rallies on YouTube. But then, she writes, she “noticed something peculiar. YouTube started to recommend and ‘autoplay’ videos for me that featured white supremacist rants, Holocaust denials and other disturbing content.”

And it wasn’t just Trump videos. Watching Hillary Clinton rallies got her “arguments about the existence of secret government agencies and allegations that the United States government was behind the attacks of Sept. 11.” Nor was it just politics. “Videos about vegetarianism led to videos about veganism. Videos about jogging led to videos about running ultramarathons.”

Tufekci is a New York Times columnist and a professor at the University of North Carolina. She’s also one of the clearest thinkers around on how digital platforms work, how their algorithms understand and shape our preferences, and what the consequences are for society. So as we learn that Facebook is detecting new efforts at electoral manipulation and as we watch online politics become ever more bitter and divisive, I wanted to talk with Tufekci about how digital platforms have become engines of radicalization, and what we can do about it.


In an oral culture, memory is prized.

In a social media culture, attention-getting is prized.  The Kardashians do this.  Trump is an ex-reality television star, because that is what he excelled at.  She thinks this won’t work well because it will be misunderstood.  You don’t have control over where it goes.

What is this media training us to do?  It is rewarding attention-grabbing with political power and money.   Politicians try to get attention without letting it take over.

The space is so crowded, so competitive.

What really wins when thousands of things are competing?  (28:50 min)

Things that outrage or excite core identities.  Really funny, mean, or shocking.

We are taught to believe that competition is always better.  The more we train people to win this war, it is easy to see how so much falls along identity lines, funny, mean, shocking.

Every company knows the power of the default.

The most effective forms of censorship involve messing with trust and attention.

Is censorship the right word?  People are asking this of Facebook and Google.

What to do with Alex Jones and what to call him?

3 degrees of Alex Jones: you can start anywhere on Facebook? and Alex Jones will be recommended.

With InfoWars they are targeting people for violent incitement.  Claiming that the Sandy Hooks parents kids are actors and they pretended a shooting occurred so that the government can take your guns away.

They are not governments; they are gatekeepers.

Ted Cruz has allied himself with someone who said his father helped kill JFK.

We need forms of due process

Sanjay Ghemawat

Sanjay Ghemawat (born 1966) is an Indian American[1] computer scientist and software engineer. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Google in the Systems Infrastructure Group.[2][3] Ghemawat’s work at Google, much of it in close collaboration with Jeff Dean,[4] has included big data processing model MapReduce, the Google File System, and databases Bigtable and SpannerWired have described him as one of the “most important software engineers of the internet age”.[4]


Ghemawat studied at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[2] He obtained a PhD from MIT in 1995, with a dissertation titled, The Modified Object Buffer: A Storage Management Technique for Object-Oriented Databases. His advisorswere Barbara Liskov and Frans Kaashoek.[5]

Before joining Google, Ghemawat worked at the DEC Systems Research Center. There he began his longtime collaboration with Jeff Dean, who worked at another DEC research lab nearby. Their work at DEC included a Java compiler and a system profiling tool.[4]