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Google expands internal message board moderation

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai

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According to a document obtained by CNBC, Google is asking employees to play a more active role in moderating internal bulletin boards. This is because these debates are intensifying and employees continue to work from home.

According to a recent internal blog post by Google’s internal community management team, the company has recently seen an increase in posts flagged for racism and abuse on bulletin boards. The team attributed this to what Google employees share when they work from home and the increase in “harsh global conversations.”

As a result, the company is expanding its content moderation pilot, which began in 2019, to span more than 75 discussion groups on a variety of platforms, the document shows. Most owners of discussion groups act as active moderators, complete essential moderation training, create a “chart that defines the purpose of the group”, have conversations “inclusive” and follow the charter. You need to make sure that you are.

“As the years go by, our world will become more complex,” the team said in an internal blog. “Tensions continue for the Black + community using Black Lives Matter and Google employees in Asia using coronavirus and China / Hong Kong, all of which include working from home, social isolation, and caregiver responsibilities. Exacerbated by additional stress. This new world creates the urgency to keep work in a cozy place. “

This effort is how leadership seeks to crack down on conflicting distractions when employees work from home until the summer of 2021 while alleviating their desire for transparency and open dialogue. Is shown.

In August 2019, the company created a formal policy to crack down on internal political debates. Some employees rebelled against the restrictions, saying they were too wide.

Unlike other companies, Google is a debate-friendly, free-thinking company whose ideals were set early by founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who resigned from official executive positions in December. I’ve been proud of that for many years (although still the largest shareholder). The company’s leadership has rocked current Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, but a gradual crackdown on this bohemian culture continues.

The company asked for comment, but did not get a response.

Where there is a problem

The internal community management team pointed out problematic conversations between Dory, Google’s question-suggesting system used for live events and meetings, and Memegen, an internal meme generator and platform.

Approximately half of Google’s employees believe that Memegen is “rarely” not respected, the group said, according to the findings. “Most of the content shared on our platform is perfectly fine, but in the first half of 2020, more flags were submitted to Dory and Memegen than in 2019 as a whole,” the team said. ..

The team added that the flag category “harassment / discrimination” was most frequently reported and the most measures were taken. “It’s unpleasant to admit that there was content on our platform that strengthened racist stereotypes, used harmful sexual expressions, or insulted Google employees based on nationality. is.”

Google’s internal community management team has also proposed a moderation framework where forums fall into three buckets: A “required moderation” is a “content” or community that reaches a wide range of users, such as the internal meme platform Memegen. “Recommended moderation” including all-members meetings. “No Moderation” is for small, private groups, such as employee resource groups.

In preparation for publication, the group worked with the company’s user experience researchers to create a moderator support group. We also hold monthly forums to get employee feedback and plan to develop them “slowly and intentionally.”

“Google has the best working culture in the world and we are dedicated to getting it right,” said one of the group’s emails. “We hope this keeps Google in the open culture we expect, while maintaining the right balance between the community taking protective measures to welcome all kinds of Google employees.”

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