Google changed the rules for inviting guests to speak at its offices.
- Competitors like Meta also have speaker invitation guidelines.
- Since at least April, Google has been embroiled in arguments regarding speakers.
- Obama, a contender for president of the United States at the time, has spoken at Google.
Following the cancellation of a session by an Indian historian who had disparaged marginalised communities and their concerns, Google this week updated guidelines for inviting visitors to speak at its offices, according to company emails.
Google's most recent effort to maintain an open culture while addressing divisions that have emerged as its staff has grown is represented by the policy it announced on Thursday. Employees at Google and other major tech companies have recently fought and protested over politics and concerns of racial and gender fairness. Additionally, union organising campaigns are urging employees at Alphabet, Apple, and Amazon to demand that the corporations implement progressive policies.
The Google speaker guidelines, which were reviewed by Reuters, include the risk to the company's reputation from certain lectures and instruct staff to 'examine whether there is a commercial reason for sponsoring the speaker and if the event directly supports our company aims.'
It urges speakers to stay away from subjects that would 'disrupt or damage Google's culture of belonging' and reiterates that they are not allowed to support politicians or initiatives on the ballot. In order to give our workers the best opportunity for learning and networking, Google has always been happy to welcome outside speakers, according to Ryan Lamont, a spokesman for the company.
The policy, according to an email introducing it to managers, explains and unifies a jumble of regulations. The open, university-like ethos that Google has valued since its founding is threatened by increased scrutiny.
However, a more welcoming workplace might draw a more varied workforce, which could help Google create goods with a wider market. Google recently reduced the frequency of company-wide meetings and tightened content moderation on workplace message boards as a result of internal conflicts that leaked into the public eye. Competitors like Meta also have speaker invitation guidelines.
Retired US presidential contender Barack Obama, renowned chef Ayesha Curry, and former basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have all spoken at Google. Thenmozhi Soundararajan, an author who fights for those who are oppressed by caste discrimination, was scheduled to speak on India's socioreligious caste system in April, but Google decided to postpone the event due to internal strife.