Google cracks down on internal message board over Israel-Gaza debate

Google will crack down on posts to its popular internal messaging board to cool the heated debate by employees over the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.

The Silicon Valley-based tech giant’s Memegen internal messaging board — a tool utilized for 14 years to sound off on issues including complaints about bosses — has become filled with gripes in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks.

Israeli and Jewish employees have been angered by messages that were perceived as antisemitic.

They are pitted against Arab and Muslim employees at the company who say their speech has been stifled.

To turn down the rhetoric, Google executives have decided to remove the option of voting “thumbs down” on a meme because it made the workers feel bad, according to The New York Times.

Google is putting restrictions on its internal messaging service after the debate over the Israel-Hamas war got heated, according to a report. REUTERS

The “thumbs down” button would trigger a ranking mechanism whereby memes considered more popular are prominently featured while the less popular posts are downgraded or deleted entirely.

It will also remove metrics that allow people to see how popular their colleagues’ memes have become.

The changes will take effect later this year, the company said, adding that they were decided upon in response to employee feedback and not to any one particular topic or incident.

A Google rep told The Post that “as the team has transparently shared with employees, they’re experimenting with some common industry practices similar to what other internal and external social platforms have done.”

Google has long been known for a corporate culture that allows employees to freely express themselves, including being critical of the company’s leadership and executive team.

During all-hands meetings involving CEO Sundar Pichai, employees would often go onto Memegen and opine in real-time on what they were hearing.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in response to the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas that claimed nearly 1,200 lives. AFP via Getty Images
Fierce debate on Google’s internal messaging boards has included accusations of antisemitism. AFP via Getty Images

But employees now say that the recent changes made by management to Memegen are designed to effectively kill it.

Google’s ties to Israel have rankled a group of employees who have demanded that the company cancel its participation in a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract — code-named “Project Nimbus” — with the Israeli government.

Last month, Google fired an engineer who publicly berated the head of the company’s Israeli operations and accused him of facilitating “genocide, apartheid and surveillance.”

In November, a group of Google staffers who included “anti-Zionist” Jews, Muslims, Palestinians, and Arabs circulated an open letter demanding that management cancel the Nimbus contract due to what it calls “providing material support to this genocide.”

Last month, a Google cloud engineer berated an Israeli-based company executive over the firm’s ties to the Israeli government. Caroline Haskins/X

At least two Google employees have resigned in protest over the issue, according to Time.

Google isn’t the only tech giant that has grappled with how to allow their employees to express themselves about the Israel-Gaza war.

In November, Apple reportedly shut down internal Slack channels created by Muslim and Jewish employees after workers posted verses of the Koran and organized protests in response to the news from the Middle East.

In the days and weeks after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, Microsoft shut down an internal discussion board after one employee wrote about a “strong sense of disillusionment with our work and the company” in light of “one-sided statements” by management in support of Israel.

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