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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.

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3 Responses

  1. Beth,
    I think you make a couple of great points here. I’m also glad to see you focus on the PR issue at Google’s doorstep and not focus so much on if whether what they is right or wrong. Sometimes in PR, it’s not our job to judge or complain, but to make sure we are paying attention to the environment in which our organization functions. However, it IS our job to make sure that people are communicating a consistent message. Did Google go against it’s “Do no evil” mantra? If they did, the message is inconsistent. If they didn’t, then they’re spot on. I’ll let history decide, it’s over my head.

  2. Beth,
    To follow up. I just saw an article on Boing Boing titled “Report: Yahoo helped jail another Chinese ‘net dissident, Li Zhi” that really begs the question. Why isn’t anyone targeting MSN or Yahoo about all of this? Why is Google taking the heat? You can’t honestly tell me that it’s because of their mission statement. You and I both know that’s an excuse. What’s the real reason? Why the soap boxes? Check out the Boing Boing article at http://www.boingboing.net/2006/02/08/report_yahoo_helped_.html

  3. Hi Beth,
    Thanks for posting on our work. There has been real outrage from both sides of the blogosphere in response to the revelation that Yahoo turned over
    information that put a
    second Chinese dissident
    in jail for his political beliefs. I really
    believe it’s a matter of time before Google is put in the same position
    as Yahoo. If we don’t raise our voices now, what chance do we have of
    Google doing the right thing.

    As of today, over 2,050 people have committed to boycott Google on Valentine’s Day, over 45,000 emails have
    been sent to
    Google’s executives, and over 4,300 emails
    have been sent to executives at
    Yahoo, Microsoft, and Cisco.

    Most importantly I want to let you guys know that we’ve just posted our
    latest Google break up video, which you can view
    NoLuv4Google homepage or
    here. We’ve
    also launched our new blog, powered by WordPress, which you can visit at
    blog.studentsforafreetibet.org.

    As always, I’d really appreciate if you can post on this. We’re getting
    down to the wire. We’re getting down to the wire. We’ve heard from contacts inside Google that they have given ALL of their employees the option of not coming to work on February 14th to avoid our protests. Help us continue to put pressure on Google for their disgraceful partnership to help the Chinese
    government block information about democracy and human rights from
    people inside Tibet and China.

Comments are closed.