The Associated Press

Source: Allum Bokhari

Google has implemented a set of new rules for its employees, cracking down on political discussion inside the company.

The new rules, which were posted publicly, urge Google employees to avoid “disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story.

The guidelines prohibit Google employees from making statements that “insult, demean, or humiliate” a range of individuals, including “other employees, [Google’s] extended workforce, [Google’s] business partners, or others (including public figures).”

Google is also establishing a dedicated team to moderate internal discussions, as well as a “central flagging tool” that will allow Google employees to report potentially policy-violating comments from their colleagues, according to the Daily Mail

The ban on insulting public figures marks a sharp turnaround for Google, whose own co-founder described the election of Donald Trump as “very offensive” in 2016 video footage leaked to Breitbart News last year.

Google has been subject to repeated controversies arising from the political statements and activities of its employees. The company was condemned by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) during her successful campaign for Tennessee’s Senate seat in 2018 after an employee compared her to a “terrorist”  in an internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News.

Other discussions leaked to Breitbart News include an internal smear-campaign against Heritage Foundation president Kay Cole James, who Google employees accused of “homophobia” and “exterminationism.”

Breitbart News also published comments from Google’s former Director of U.S. Public Policy, Adam Kovacevich, describing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as a “sideshow circus.” Other Google employees described the conference as a platform for “hate” and “anti-queer politicians.”

These leaks, alongside others showing Google’s manipulation of search results for political topics, embrace of censorship over unfettered free expression, and blacklisting of conservative news websites have led Republican lawmakers, as well as President Trump, to accuse the company of rampant political bias.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the White House is preparing an executive order that will instruct the FTC and FCC to limit the parameters of censorship on big tech platforms.