Google, the tech giant that recently fired one of its top engineers for penning a memo that stated men and women are different, has been funding organizations that are defending human traffickers’ rights to free speech.
Google engineer James Damore was fired Tuesday for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” — in other words, saying something Google doesn’t like — after he wrote a 10-page memo that said the company’s affirmative-action like hiring policies and programs weren’t helping the intended recipients.
Ironically, then, Google has also been backing efforts to protect websites like Backpage, a classified ad site commonly used by human traffickers to sell sexual encounters with children. A Google lobbyist has been reportedly blitzing members of Congress via email, urging them to oppose legislation that would amend section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which protects online forums and platforms from being liable for the content others write and publish on their websites, according to the National Center on Child Exploitation.
Lawmakers and activists have sought to amend section 230 to specifically state that speech that promotes or enables human trafficking should be excluded from such protections. But the search engine and its parent company Alphabet have supported the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Center for Democracy and Technology, and their fight against amending section 230 of the 1996 law.
“We acknowledge fully that child sex trafficking is abhorrent and a serious problem,” EFF attorney Aaron Mackey told The Observer. “We are completely sympathetic to their concerns, but their proposed fix might undermine all speech platforms online, which are used overwhelmingly for good.”
In other words, Google and its nonprofit allies are fighting efforts to amend a law to crack down on human trafficking because they say it would inhibit free speech, yet when one of Google’s employees says something true yet outside the bounds of liberals’ comfort zone, he is immediately fired. Why is the tech giant more comfortable with protecting a shady classified ad site’s right to free expression than one of its own employees who — unlike child traffickers who use Backpage — did nothing criminal? Perhaps because to a company with a crippling liberal bias, human traffickers are less icky than people who say things that challenge their political preferences.