Google staff discussed ways to fight Trump travel ban: WSJ

0
3853

[FILE]People arrive at John F. Kennedy (JFK) international airport following an announcment by the Supreme Court that it will take President Donald Trump’s travel ban case later in the year on June 26, 2017 in New York City. The court will let a limited version of the travel ban from six mostly muslim countries take effect before hearing full arguments in October. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

Google employees discussed how to counter President Donald Trump’s 2017 travel ban by modifying search functions to help people contribute to immigration advocacy groups and contact lawmakers, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

They began the email discussion two days after Trump signed the first version of his travel ban targeting people from seven mainly Muslim countries, the paper reported.

Staff discussed how to tweak search functions and work against “islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Iran’, etc.”, the Journal reported.

They looked at similar measures for the search terms ‘Mexico’, ‘Hispanic’, ‘Latino’, etc.”

An email from an employee of the Search Product Marketing division referred to brainstorming inside Google over how to respond to ban.

Trump’s controversial measure was challenged in court and underwent several iterations before ultimately being upheld by the US Supreme Court.

The report is certain to anger Trump, who has accused Google of blocking conservative viewpoints in its search results.

Google told the Journal that none of the ideas discussed were ever implemented.

“Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology — not in the current campaign season, not during the 2016 election, and not in the aftermath of President Trump’s executive order on immigration,” it said in a statement.

“Our processes and policies would not have allowed for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies,” it added.

Google was among 100 tech companies that filed a friend-of-the-court brief in February 2017 challenging the travel ban as harmful to US “business, innovation and growth”.