A survey-presentation by Google employees shows how the company manages freedom of speech and censorship. The presentation, which leaked is titled "The Good Censor" or "The Good Censor," on Breitbart News this week and is a mix of findings and ideas based on interviews and contributions from many journalists, academics and cultural critics.
Slides are a rare and intense look at Google's ongoing struggles, which are adopted across many Silicon Valley technology platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, and greatly limit human conversations.
In essence, the company wonders if it is possible to protect itself from the negative aspects of free speech, hate speech, threats, fake news, bots, trolls, propaganda and election interference, while promoting a platform that gives everyone a voice. Google states in the presentation that the Internet was based on "utopian principles of free speech" and that Silicon Valley was largely built on the guiding principles of these ideals.
The Google presentation recognizes that "censorship can give governments - and businesses - the tools to restrict the freedom of individuals." But it also explains why tech platforms like Google Search and YouTube are responsible for policing what happens to their apps and pages.
Transparencies give a history of how large portions of the internet have been dominated by malicious users and why major technology companies and governments have failed to address these issues.
As far as censorship is concerned, Google notes on the slides how government requests have tripled over the past two years and that YouTube is now the target of most of these demands. Google Search is second.
The presentation concludes that technology companies are "trying to balance between two incompatible positions" and that this is why censorship is increasing in companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
The slides conclude that transparency, coherence and accountability are paramount in tackling this ongoing imbalance and that there is no "proper censorship" that satisfies everyone and resolves these issues.
The presentation is definitely an honest look at how a Google-sized business analyzes these issues and tries to solve them. But it comes to the eve of a Google search product and a news site in China. We have already mentioned the project under the code name Dragonfly and internal conflicts, from voices that are inconsistent with government censorship and Google's role.
The slides you see below do not mention China at all, their historical approach, electronic censorship and social authoritarianism.
In response to the leak, Google announced that the survey is not indicative and does not reflect any of the company's official positions. However, according to Google, this research helps to better understand how users think about these key issues.