Aug 24, 2019

Google curbs politics at work with new guidelines

Photo: Amy Osborne/AFP/Getty Images

Google has released new protocol to curb employee "discussion of politics and other topics not related to work," in an attempt to avoid disruption, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters, per the WSJ: This is a meaningful change for Alphabet Inc. — Google's parent company — which previously touted its support for open communication and debate. "The tech titan helped pioneer the Silicon Valley idea of the workplace as a college-like campus." However rebellions were rising over issues like pursuit of government contracts.

What they're saying:

  • "Google said it would appoint employees to moderate the company’s famously raucous internal message board ... acknowledging that the discussions have spiraled out of control."
  • Google said in a public memo: "While sharing information and ideas with colleagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not."
  • A company spokesperson said: “This follows a year of increased incivility on our internal platforms, and we’ve heard that employees want clearer rules of the road on what’s OK to say and what’s not.”

Reality check: Google's new guidelines don’t ban political conversations at the office outright, but specify that supervisors must manage upsetting or distracting topics.

Flashback: In November, groups of Google employees walked out globally to protest how the company handled accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

Go deeper

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Protesters and police clash during demonstration on Wednesday over the death of George Floyd in custody outside the Third Police Precinct. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

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The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted late Wednesday that the situation where the clashes were taking place was "extremely dangerous" as he urged people to leave the area. There were multiple news reports of police firing tear gas at protesters and of some people looting a Target store.

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The big picture: CVS has faced legal scrutiny over its cash discount programs since 2015, and this lawsuit adds big names to a mounting problem.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has only eight active novel coronavirus cases and no COVID-19 patients in hospital after another day of zero new infections. However, the death toll rose to 22.

Zoom in: A top health official told a briefing a 96-year-old woman "was regarded to having recovered from COVID-19 at the time of her death, and COVID-19 is not recorded as the primary cause of her death on her death certificate." But it was decided to include her in the overall tally of deaths related to the virus.