A senior Google software engineer who oversees a key component of the search engine called U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn a “violent thug” and a “terrorist,” Breitbart News reported, citing internal emails it obtained.
The employee also defended the censorship of her campaign ads on social media. Breitbart’s story is available here.
The comments took place in an internal email discussion that began on June 19, Brietbart said. The topic of discussion was a Fox News op-ed by U.S. Representative Blackburn (R-TN), which urged tech companies to address bias against conservatives. Blackburn, who has been the target of social media censorship, has been a vocal critic of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Blake Lemoine, a senior software engineer at Google, said Blackburn was lying to the public. He accused her of “causing the deaths of people she claimed to protect” – referring to her work on two anti-trafficking bills, which has pushed most sex workers off Twitter.
“We certainly shouldn’t acquiesce to the theatrical demands of a legislator who makes political hay by intentionally reducing the safety of the people who she claims to protect,” said Lemoine. “I’m not big on negotiation with terrorists.”
Lemoine is a technical lead on Google’s search feed, formerly known as Google Now. The feed sends information to users proactively, using personal data to predict what information users want before they search for it.
According to Lemoine’s LinkedIn profile, he works on “research pertaining to fairness and bias in machine learning.”
Lemoine indicated that he supports censorship on social media: he defended Twitter’s decision to temporarily censor one of Blackburn’s pro-life campaign ads on the platform.
“Taking down libel is not censorship,” said Lemoine.
Breitbart said it tried to contact Google “to clarify the extent of Lemoine’s responsibilities, and what safeguards the company has in place to ensure its employees’ often extreme political biases don’t filter into its products. Google has not responded at the time of writing.”
Breitbart also said, “Independent research acknowledged even by the anti-Trump Washington Post, found that Google search results tended to favor Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Research conducted prior to the 2016 election also found that if Google deliberately skewed its search results to favor particular candidates, it could shift the votes of undecided voters by margins of 20 percent or more.”
Blackburn is running a tight race with Democratic former Governor Phil Bredesen for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Bob Corker (R-TN) who is retiring. A recent Tennessee Star poll of likely voters showed Blackburn ahead by 3 points. The poll has a 3 percent margin of error.
In April, Breitbart reported that Blackburn testified before the House Judiciary Committee and said that because of Facebook and Google’s censorship practices, free speech “is endangered even here in America.”