Whistleblower Exposes Tech Giant’s Plan to Relaunch Censored Search Engine in China, Contradicts Statements
(New York, NY) – On August 1, a whistleblower revealed Google’s plans to relaunch a censored version of its search engine in China to meet the authoritarian government’s demands to limit free speech.
“Google’s plans for launching a censored search engine in China demonstrates that the tech giant, once again, is not interested in protecting free speech or free expression—only market share,” said Counter Extremism Project Executive Director David Ibsen. “For over a year, we have heard Google tout their counter-extremism efforts as well as their support for the First Amendment. However, Google’s latest proposal to enter the Chinese market will hopefully put an end to a roadshow of Google representatives citing openness and freedom of speech and expression as justifications for their unwillingness or inability to remove extremist content from their platforms.”
In June 2017, Google posted a blog praising their counter-extremism measures and efforts to promote “open and free” societies. Over a year later on July 17, 2018, Google’s Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Juniper Downs testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee at a hearing entitled, “Facebook, Google and Twitter: Examining the Content Filtering Practices of Social Media Giants.” During that hearing, she stated, “Supporting the free flow of ideas is core to our mission to organize and the make the world’s information universally accessible and useful.” According to Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2018 report, China has a freedom rating of 6.5/7 with 1 indicating the most free and 7 indicating the least free.
Google-owned YouTube has serious deficits in handling ISIS videos, which were recently revealed in a study undertaken by CEP and Dr. Hany Farid, the world’s foremost digital forensics and hashing expert. From March 8 to June 8, 2018, CEP researched to better understand how ISIS content is being uploaded to YouTube, how long it stays online and how many views these videos receive. To accomplish this, CEP conducted a limited search for a small set of just 229 previously identified ISIS terror-related videos. The results of the study clearly show that even though most of the identified videos are removed fairly quickly, they still manage to garner thousands of views. Additionally, known ISIS videos are being re-uploaded time and again further threatening the public.