Google Horror Stories Make Us Wonder: Is "Don't Be Evil" A Thing Of The Past?

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GoogleevilIt's hard to be a regular peruser of the Internet (or let's be honest, a member of the workforce in general) without hearing about how great it is to work at Google. You've undoubtedly heard about the paradisiacal California offices, the free food, and the incredible benefits. But what you might not know about is some of the dirty work that goes on behind the scenes. Buzzfeed has an anonymous interview with a former contractor (read: freelance employee) whose experience wasn't quite so rosy.

The employee did an unfortunate but very necessary job: sifting through all of Google's channels for inappropriate content, viewing that content, and flagging or removing it when appropriate. This guy dealt with extreme gore, child pornography, outlandish fetishes and more. When these experiences eventually began to weigh too heavily on his shoulders, he sought out therapy. Google paid for one session but, because of his status as a contractor, would not pay for anything further.

Obviously, Google is doing not only the right thing but the legal thing in hiring people to deal with this unsettling content. And its policies on extending benefits (or not) to freelancers are on par with what's standard. But, this employee sincerely feels he was used and abused to do Google's dirty work and neither rewarded nor treated for the trauma experienced in the name of the company and the safety of its users.

And all of this doesn't seem totally on par with the company's liberal beginnings and famous motto of "Don't be evil." Some of us still remember the days before a Google gig was every post-grad's dream job, and the company would plaster campuses with those words on printer paper, tacked to lamp posts and bulletin boards, like there was an Occupy rally going on. A lot has changed since then, but perhaps, in that case, the tag line should, as well?

Definitely head over to Buzzfeed for the full story, which is fascinating, though a bit upsetting. What do you think? Is it Google's responsibility to counteract the anonymous misdeeds of the Internet?

Image: Courtesy of Google.