Analyze This 7

You are the head of Google and a country you operate in insists you obey its propaganda ministry and filter out certain terms and topics. What do you do and why?

– If I found myself in this position, I would absolutely not allow certain terms and topics to be filtered out. Let me preface this by saying that I believe every country participated in *some* form of censorship, but some obviously more than others. I would not allow certain terms and topics to be filtered out because people have a right to know. They also have a right to individual freedom (hello, capitalism!). What they choose to do with the information or spend their time watching, reading, or listening to shouldn’t be my concern.

I think from the outset, it is easy to claim we would be unwavering in our morals and ethics and wholeheartedly support the freedom of speech and information. But is that what we would *really* do given the circumstances behind closed doors and amid building pressure from higher-ups at Google? I hope we would all remain steadfast and vote against censorship. But there could be some pros to hiding information. If the information is deemed harmful or inappropriate for a mass audience, maybe that’s a reason to filter it out (I’m thinking particularly about psychologically harmful material such as some types of pornography, violent material, material that is graphically depicting death or some other related topic)…. but at the same time, other people have a right to see this stuff, even if we ourselves would never opt to consume such material. Thus, freedom of speech and information is not just for us, but for others too (even if we are offended or otherwise disturbed by the media-related materials or information to which they choose to expose themselves).

* nota bene: I understand that this issue is not nearly as “black and white” as I’ve just made it out to be, but that’s my personal opinion. Practically, I don’t know how feasible it is, though. Given the situation (that I am a CEO of a huge, lucrative company) ultimately I would probably have to resign to remove myself from the situation and still uphold the reputation of the company and for myself. I would also have to consider other external factors such as finances, propaganda, politics, corporate pressure, etc.


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