Google wasn’t represented at a Senate hearing last month on political censorship. But it assured lawmakers in a written statement that “our products serve users of all viewpoints and remain politically neutral” while acknowledging that “sometimes our content moderation systems do make mistakes.” This week my organization was hit by one such “mistake.”
On our American Mind website, the Claremont Institute recently launched a campaign to engage citizens in debate about what it means to be an American. We are warning about the danger to the republic posed by multiculturalism, identity politics and politically correct speech restrictions. Google decided that our writings violated the company’s policy on “race and ethnicity in personalized advertising” and prevented us from advertising to our own readers about our 40th-anniversary gala dinner this Saturday.
The relevant section of Google’s policy lists “racially or ethnically oriented publications, racially or ethnically oriented universities, racial or ethnic dating” as examples of violations. Either Google’s algorithm, an employee or a combination must have designated the American Mind a “racially or ethnically oriented” publication. That’s ironic. For its 40-year history, the Claremont Institute’s animating principle has been the proposition that all human beings are created equal.