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Google’s Return to China Creates Unrest Within The Company

Google's Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told employees "it's all very unclear" whether Google would return to China at all.

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Central Election Commission member Alexander Klyukin said the commission had sent an official letter to Larry Page, the CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet. Wikimedia Commons. VOA
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Google is planning a return to China.

But the project is shrouded in secrecy, and employees are demanding transparency.

According to a report by The New York Times on Thursday, August 16, a petition calling for more oversight and accountability in the project racked up more than 1,000 signatures.

Reuters reported this month, the app is a bid to win approval from Beijing to provide a mobile search engine in China.

However, employees are concerned the app would support China’s restrictions on free expression and ultimately violate the company’s ‘don’t be evil’ code of conduct.

The petition, seen by Reuters says, “We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building.”

The flag of China.
employees are concerned the app would support China’s restrictions on free expression. Pixabay

The company declined to comment.

Sources say the project – codenamed Dragonfly – would block certain websites and search terms.

It would also stand in stark contrast to eight years ago, when Google left China in protest of Beijing’s censorship.

Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly.

But in a transcript seen by Reuters, Google’s Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told employees “it’s all very unclear” whether Google would return to China at all.

Also Read: Google Releases ‘Go Edition of Android 9 Pie’

He also said that development is still in the early stages, and that sharing information too early could quote “cause issues”. (VOA)

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Facebook Hires A Human Rights Director Ahead Of Facing Criticism

The new role will include working with product teams to ensure that the company is a positive force for human rights and apply the lessons learnt from investigations.

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Facebook announces hiring of human rights director. Pixabay

 Facing human rights violation allegations over the misuse of its platform by the Myanmar government to fuel atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority, social networking giant Facebook has announced the hiring of a human rights policy director.

The social media firm’s new director would help promote peace, human freedoms and build strong communities while simultaneously crack down those who “enable harm, stifle expression and undermine human rights”, the networking giant said in a post on its website on Saturday.

“We are looking for a Director of Human Rights Policy to coordinate our company-wide effort to address human rights abuses, including by both state and non-state actors,” it added.

Facebook
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. VOA

Six organisations, including the UN, have blasted the site for taking over a year to respond to misinformation that helped fuel the “genocide” of Rohingya in Myanmar, the Engadget reported.

According to Facebook, the new role will include working with product teams to ensure that the company is a positive force for human rights and apply the lessons learnt from investigations.

The person would represent Facebook with key stakeholders in civil society, government, international institutions and industry.

Facebook
A Facebook start page is shown on a smartphone in Surfside, Florida. Aug. 21, 2018. The social media giant Facebook said late Wednesday Aug. 22, 2018, it has banned a quiz app for refusing to be audited and concerns that data on as many as 4 million users was misused, after it found user information was shared with researchers and companies. VOA

He or she will also need to craft policies to counteract bad actors and ensure that Facebook continues to operate its platforms consistent with human rights principles, the post noted.

Also Read: Social Media Analytics Tools Are a Must For Modern Businesses

The future director should have over 12 years of experience in public policy, human rights, conflict prevention, freedom of expression and technology.

He or she must also have an advanced degree in public policy, foreign relations or law degree, the post said. (IANS)