Over the last 2 years, there have been a few cuts within the company as part of its goal to “deliver durable savings through improved velocity and efficiency”.
Tech giant Google LLC (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has cut at least 40 jobs in its Google News division. According to those familiar with the matter, the reason behind the layoff round is the uncertainty and sensitive time for online platforms and publishers. The exact number of those who lost their job at the Google News unit is not confirmed. As the spokesperson stated, there are still hundreds of employees working on the product.
Google representative commented:
“We’re deeply committed to a vibrant information ecosystem, and news is a part of that long-term investment. We’ve made some internal changes to streamline our organization. A small number of employees were impacted. We’re supporting everyone with a transition period, outplacement services and severance as they look for new opportunities at Google and beyond.”
Over the last 2 years, there have been a few cuts within the company as part of its goal to “deliver durable savings through improved velocity and efficiency”. In November 2022, Google’s parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) announced it would let go of 10,000 employees. In January, Alphabet announced a layoff of as many as 12,000 workers, or roughly 6% of its headcount. In September, Google reduced its recruiting team by hundreds of positions.
Last year, DeepMind, Alphabet’s division responsible for developing general-purpose artificial intelligence (AI) technology, also reduced employee expenses by 39% within its cost-cutting strategy.
Other tech giants like Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ: META), and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) also conducted layoffs, driving the downsizing trend into 2023.
Spread of Misinformation
The world is now shaken by two ongoing wars. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been in place since February 2022, and since October 7, there has been a war between Israel and Hamas that has already claimed thousands of lives. At this uncertain time, the spread of fake news and misinformation is an especially sensitive issue, therefore, it is important for platforms that users trust to provide up-to-date and reliable news.
On Tuesday, Senator Michael Bennet asked several tech giants to provide information about their efforts to respond to the spread of misinformation about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. In a letter sent to Google, Meta Platforms Inc, X (formerly Twitter), and TikTok, Bennet stated that their algorithms of work ‘have amplified this content, contributing to a dangerous cycle of outrage, engagement, and redistribution’.
Google spokesperson said:
“These internal changes have no impact on our misinformation and information quality work in News.”
The spread of fake news is further fueled and escalated by the existing AI chatbots. For example, when asked about the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, Google’s Bard mentioned that “both sides are committed” to maintaining peace. Similarly, Microsoft’s AI-powered Bing chatbot stated that “the ceasefire indicates the cessation of immediate bloodshed”. Following that, Google released a statement, asking users to understand that mistakes can happen and how they are doing everything to avoid them.