A Project Veritas undercover video raising alarm about Google’s political neutrality and 2020 election preparations was removed Monday by YouTube, which is owned by Google.
The decision to pull the explosive video came after privacy complaints about the footage, which showed two Google employees unaware they were being filmed discussing the company’s policies. The video may still be viewed on the Project Veritas website.
“We have strong privacy guidelines in place, including the ability to file a complaint if someone feels their privacy has been violated,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. “When complaints are received, we may also provide the uploader a chance to remove or edit private information in their video.”
Meanwhile, Jen Gennai, the Google executive shown in the footage, posted a response saying that Project Veritas “selectively edited and spliced the video to distort my words and the actions of my employer, and published it widely online.”
“I was having a casual chat with someone at a restaurant and used some imprecise language,” Ms. Gennai said in a post on Medium. “Project Veritas got me. Well done.”
In the video, Ms. Gennai was shown saying that breaking up Google would “make it worse” because smaller companies “will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation,” but she said later that she was referring to foreign interference in the 2016 election.
“Project Veritas has edited the video to make it seem that I am a powerful executive who was confirming that Google is working to alter the 2020 election,” she said in her post. “On both counts, this is absolute, unadulterated nonsense, of course.”
Ms. Gennai heads Google’s Responsible Innovation team, which seeks to ensure “fair and ethical outcomes” in artificial intelligence.
She continued: “In a casual restaurant setting, I was explaining how Google’s Trust and Safety team (a team I used to work on) is working to help prevent the types of online foreign interference that happened in 2016. Google has been very public about the work that our teams have done since 2016 on this, so it’s hardly a revelation.”
The video also featured an unidentified “Google insider” who accused the company of manipulating its search results to promote its agenda, sparking outrage among conservatives who have long charged tech platforms with anti-right bias.
“If @google can do this to influence presidential elections and hurt the President of the United States, just imagine what they can do to you,” tweeted Donald Trump Jr.
Rep. Louis Gohmert, Texas Republican, said that Google’s “‘social justice narrative’ should distress all Americans who value a free and open society.”
“Google should not be deciding whether content is important or trivial and they most assuredly should not be meddling in our election process,” Mr. Gohmert said in a statement. “They need their immunity stripped and to be properly pursued by class action lawsuits by those they have knowingly harmed.”
A House subcommittee has launched an investigation into antitrust concerns surrounding big-tech companies like Google.
In a September staff memo, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai warned employees, “We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda,” according to the Wall Street Journal.