Google

600 Google Employees Sign Manifesto to Overturn the Company’s Vaccine Mandate

Google, which employs approximately 150,000 people in the U.S., has mandated that all workers who interact with Government contractors be fully vaccinated, even if they work from home, with all other employees ordered to report their vaccination status. However, the new measure has encountered opposition within the company itself as roughly 600 members of staff have signed a manifesto demanding that Google “be inclusive to all Googlers” and overturn this policy, while calling on fellow employees to “oppose the mandate as a matter of principle”. MailOnline has the story.

The tech giant is requiring its more than 150,000 U.S. employees to report their vaccination statuses and all employees who work directly or indirectly with Government contracts to be vaccinated, whether they plan to work in the office or not. 

The manifesto, which has been signed by at least 600, or less than 0.5% of all Google employees, asks company executives to abandon the policy to create a mandate “inclusive of all Googlers”, CNBC first reported. 

It urges workers to “oppose the mandate as a matter of principle” and encourages them not to allow the mandate to influence their decision to be inoculated. 

Google had set a November 12th deadline for employees to request vaccine exemptions, and employees will be required to work in the office three days a week starting January 10th. 

This comes after President Joe Biden announced that all U.S. companies with 100 or more employees must require their staff to be fully vaccinated or regularly tested for Covid by January 4th, 2022.

The authors sent the open letter, with the subhead “Respect the User”, to Google’s Chief Health Officer Karen DeSalvo, the document states. 

“I believe that [CEO] Sundar’s Vaccine Mandate is deeply flawed,” the manifesto says, describing executives’ leadership as “coercive” and “the antithesis of inclusion”.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company’s requirement for employees to be fully vaccinated to return in-person in a blog post in July. “Getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways to keep ourselves and our communities healthy in the months ahead,” Pichai wrote at the time.

The manifesto insists that the policy “publicly and possibly embarrassingly exposes” employees’ private choices. 

Worth reading in full.

YouTube to Advance its Crack-Down on Vaccine “Misinformation”

YouTube says it will soon remove any content that argues the Covid vaccine can cause serious side-effects and is unsafe to use. Matt Halprin, the Global Head of Trust and Safety at the Google-owned company, is alarmed by the presence of “vaccine misinformation” across the world. For example, vaccine scepticism relating to concerns over infertility will be struck from the platform. Guardian has the story.

From Wednesday, the video streaming site, which has already banned Covid jab falsehoods, will take down content that claims any approved vaccine is dangerous and causes chronic health defects. Under previous guidelines, the platform demoted – effectively hiding from view – videos that spread misinformation about non-Covid vaccines or promoted vaccine hesitancy.

Last year, YouTube implemented a ban on Covid vaccine misinformation videos, which has led to 130,000 pieces of content being taken down since then. YouTube, which is owned by Google, has removed a total of 1m videos for spreading general Covid falsehoods since the pandemic broke out.

Matt Halprin… said vaccine misinformation was a global problem and had spilled over from the spreading of falsehoods about Covid jabs.

“Vaccine misinformation appears globally, it appears in all countries and cultures,” he said.

Halprin added that falsehoods around the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which has been wrongly attributed to causing autism, were an example of the misinformation YouTube will target.

“There is still a lot of challenges around MMR and people arguing whether that causes autism. And as we know, the science is very stable that vaccines do not cause autism,” he said.

Worth reading in full.

The Red Screen of Death

Some of our readers may have noticed a couple of days ago that our post entitled “The BBC versus Trump” (not, for the sake of clarity, the full article of the same name by Freddie Attenborough) elicited an excited reaction from their web browser: the “red screen of death”. Google had decided that our website was doing something nefarious, and even though they couldn’t quite manage to be specific about what it was – and even though they sent me an email alert (thanks!) – neverthless when I loaded their helpful webpage and dug in to to the details they only told me that the reason was “N/A”. They suggested we were possibly running a phishing scam, or maybe running malware… they couldn’t be precise, but they made certain that our readers knew about it. Nice of them.

But besides making it very difficult for our readers to view our website (or at least, that particular page), the repercussions included the inability to forward our email newsletter to others, the inability to post links on other sites – a reader couldn’t post a link to the site under an article in the Times, for instance – and even (comically, at least to me) anti-virus alerts from McAfee. All very troubling to a webmaster, I’m sure. But I knew from the moment I got the email alert from Google that it was almost certainly bunk.