Tech Pros Split on Their Employers’ Political Acceptance

Election Day is here! And you know what that means: lots of people fighting over politics (and voting, hopefully).

As much as tech firms try to stay apolitical, they’re still filled with people, and people are (especially these days) political animals. With that in mind, Blind recently ran a survey asking tech pros whether their company accepted a diversity of political opinions.

Overall, some 56.2 percent of the 4,650 respondents answered “yes,” while 43.8 percent said “no.” Here’s a company-by-company breakdown:

Google’s results are worth highlighting. Some 39.3 percent of respondents said that Google accepted a diversity of political opinions—the lowest percentage among these tech giants. Last year, Google set off a storm of controversy when it terminated James Damore, an engineer who protested what he called the company’s “ideological echo-chamber.” In a memo to the company, CEO Sundar Pichai justified that firing by saying that Damore’s “manifesto,” which also condemned Google’s diversity programs, advanced “harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

If that wasn’t enough for Pichai to wrestle with, Google has also faced rising accusations of ideological bias from prominent Republicans. “Recent news stories reference an internal email to suggest that we would compromise the integrity of our Search results for a political end. This is absolutely false,” he recently wrote in an internal email obtained by The New York Times. “We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda.”

Nor is Google alone in this dilemma. Despite their collective attempts to stay largely above the political fray, other tech CEOs have been driven to comment on current events. For example, Apple CEO Tim Cook has made his opinions increasingly clear on everything from immigration and trade to privacy and data security. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey finds himself in the political crosshairs every single week, along with the site-specific decisions of his developers and executives.

Whatever their CEOs say in public, the fact remains that, within many tech firms, there’s often a split perception among employees concerning the acceptance of political diversity. The question is whether that divide will grow as the nation’s white-hot debates over politics continue.

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