Google Employees Are Free to Speak Up. Except on Antitrust.
Well, that and anything pro-Trump … but back to antitrust …
Google employees are not shy about speaking up. In the last few years, they have openly confronted the company about building a censored search engine in China, the handling of sexual harassment claims and its work with the Pentagon on artificial intelligence technology for weapons.
But there is one subject that employees avoid at all costs: antitrust.
They don’t address it in emails. They don’t bring it up in big company meetings. They are regularly reminded that Google doesn’t “crush,” “kill,” “hurt” or “block” the competition. And if you hope to land an executive job at the internet company, do not bring up the A-word in the interview process.
As the Justice Department, a coalition of state attorneys general and a congressional subcommittee have investigated Google for monopoly behavior over the last year, there has been little discussion internally about antitrust concerns. Now, as the department prepares to file a lawsuit against the company, the usual forums where Google employees debate anything and everything have been startlingly subdued about what may be an existential threat to it.
That’s because Google’s leaders have made it clear that antitrust is not a topic to be trifled with.