08:39 GMT23 October 2020
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    A video recording of a Google all-hands meeting leaked to Breitbart News shows the atmosphere of panic following Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election, and the company’s determination to use its resources to sway public opinion.

    A video recording of a Google all-hands meeting that took place immediately following the November 2016 US presidential election has been leaked to Breitbart News and posted on the outlet's website.

    In the hour-long meeting, which Breitbart encourages readers to watch in full in order to get "the full context of the meeting and the statements made," Google staff, including co-founder Sergey Brin, express their anxiety and frustration over the arguably unexpected election result.

    ​What's more important, however, is that the staff pledge to use the power in their hands to thwart the efforts of the new administration, which, according to Brin, "conflicts with many of [Google's] values."

    In the video, the company's CFO, Ruth Porat, pledges that Google will "use the great strength and resources and reach we have to continue to advance really important values."

    Google CEO Sundar Pichai says in the video that the company will develop machine learning and AI to combat what one employee described as "misinformation" and "fake news" shared by "low-information voters."

    "Investments in machine learning and AI" are a "big opportunity" to deal with the abovementioned problems, he says

    Later in the meeting, Brin compares Trump voters to "extremists," basing his characterization on a correlation between the economic backgrounds of Trump supporters and the kinds of voters who back extremist movements.

    The co-founder of Google argues that "voting is not a rational act," and that the Trump voters (at least some of them) were motivated by "boredom" instead of legitimate, rational concerns. He also notes that "boredom" was a motivation which in the past led to the rises of fascism and communism.

    Kent Walker, Google Vice President for Global Affairs, says that the company must "ensure" that what he calls the rise of "populism" doesn't turn into "a world war or something catastrophic… and instead is a blip, a hiccup."

    Earlier in the video, Walker tries to console the staff by saying that "history is on our side" and that the "moral arc of history bends towards progress."

    Following the Breitbart report, a Google representative replied to a request for a comment with a statement.

    "At a regularly scheduled all-hands meeting, some Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views in the aftermath of a long and divisive election season. For over 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings," the statement reads.

    "Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products. To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint."


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    leak, video, panic, 2016 US Presidential election, Google, Donald Trump, Sundar Pichai, Sergey Brin, United States
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