Google has launched a “sensitive topics” review to tighten control over research papers written by its scientists. This might be affecting the bias and/or content of the papers. Reuters reported three cases where authors were requested to keep its technology in positive light.
The new policy requires researchers to consult with legal, policy, and public relations teams before pursuing certain topics.
A senior Google manager reviewing a study on content recommendation technology shortly before publication this summer told authors to “Take great care to strike a positive tone,” according to internal correspondence read to Reuters.
Further correspondence shows authors “Updated to remove all references to Google products.” Reuters reported having seen mention of Google-owned YouTube in one of the drafts.
Google states on its public-facing website that its scientists have “Substantial” freedom. However some staff researchers believe it’s beginning to interfere with crucial studies. Particularly those studying the potential harms of technology.
Reuters has reached out to Google, who declined to comment on the story.
This new bite was adapted from an article originally written for Reuters.
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