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Google Releases Audit by Law Firm on Company’s Civil Rights Policies

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Tech enterprise Google released a new audit of the company’s influence on civil rights on Friday, also highlighting ways it could deal with issues like misinformation and hate speech.

According to a report by the Washington Post, Google previously hired a representative from the law firm, WilmerHale, to conduct a case concerning the civil rights inside the company.

Out of all issues, the firm chose to highlight the company’s influence on misinformation around elections. Highlighting the mass disinformation surrounding the event on the web engine, they suggested that Google should figure out algorithms to trace how long it takes to take down misinformative ads. When the offense is committed more than once, WilmerHale suggested that harsher actions should be taken against them, such as suspension without return.

Overall, in the audit, the firm also recommended that the tech giants look over the set rules they have for protecting users against hate speech and other forms of harassment. The audit specifically mentioned changing rules relating to misgendering and deadnaming people.

“We are committed to constantly improving, and that includes efforts to strengthen our approaches to civil and human rights,” said the leader of the civil rights division at Google, Chanelle Hardy, in a statement per Reuters. “To help guide us, we conducted and released a voluntary civil rights audit of our policies, practices, and products.”

Throughout recent years, Google has been accused of racial bias inside the company as well. Just last March, the company was sued by a former employee for systemic bias. As reported by the New York Times, according to the lawsuit, the plaintiff said that the tech giants failed to promote Black employees from lower-level jobs and underpaid them for their work.

She also detailed instances where the company intentionally asked questions to ensure Black employees would do badly during interviews and attempted to silence her during important meetings. When she spoke up, the plaintiff was forced to accept a pay reduction.

Overall, the lawsuit is representative of previous claims that Black employees are being discriminated against in the company, affecting their ability to make it in tech roles.

Although Google has announced new initiatives dedicated to diversifying their company, their last report released in 2022 showed little increase in Black representation in the company. The report also shows that Black employees were hired the least, coming in second to Native Americans in terms of hiring rates. In 2022, 9.4% of the company’s new employees were Black- up only 0.6% from 8.8% in 2021. Meanwhile, in comparison, the company recorded 40.2% of white new hires in 2022- down 4.3% from 44.5% in 2021.

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