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  • February 2006
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No Luv 4 Google

I decided to continue the story about Google, because it relates to what we have been discussing about PR and social media. Apparently, Google set up a search engine for the Chinese Government to censor searches controlling what people read, write and view. The Communist government polices the news, Internet and media. It is their law, their government and they have a right to their sovreignty. I guess it depends on your beliefs. If an American company wants to do business in China they have to follow their laws. The problem many people have is the fact that Google is working with the Chinese Government to promote censorship. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-California) said “They caved in to Beijing for the sake of profits.” ( From the The New York Times)

And because of their business with China a protest has commenced by The Students for a Free Tibet called No Luv 4 Google. Valentine’s Day is Google boycott day. People are signing up and pledging to boycott Google. Here is the campaign’s purpose, “We want to provide an outlet for the widespread outrage people worldwide have expressed since the launch of Google.cn. We want people inside Tibet, China and other Chinese-occupied territories to know that we respect their right to the free access of information just as much as we value our own. We want Google — and all other international companies doing business in China — to know that there is a basic human obligation to uphold higher standards than those set by the Chinese Communist Party. We want Google to end their partnership with the Chinese government and stand on the right side of history.”

The group has posted some catchy taglines, like “Google break up stories…break up here.” You can click on the icon and e-mail Google and tell them why you are breaking up with their gmail and “just google it” services. You can even include your picture.

What should Google do? How can they or any company effectively respond to a potential boycott? Respond, sometimes that isn’t enough. The Students for a Free Tibet have a decent PR campaign going on. Activist organizations rely on the Web to communicate, advocate and find other volunteers to rally their issue.
Google has provided reasoning for launching Google.cn, which can be read on the Google Blog. I think that Google needed to make a statement.
Anyone interested in studying the impact of social media should look to activist and advocacy organizations blogs and web sites. They can be powerful tools that impact businesses and influence others to act.
Some examples are: Exxpose Exxon, Sierra Club’s Compass, US PIRG and Greenpeace’s Weblog.