Google Lays Off News-Division Workers Even As Fake News Spreads

  • Google cut an estimated 40 to 45 jobs in its Google News division this week, according to CNBC. 
  • The cuts come during the ongoing Israel-Hamas war which has seen disinformation spread online rapidly. 
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Tuesday that content moderation is a “critical focus” for the company right now. 

Google laid off workers in its news unit this week as the Israel-Hamas war rages on and disinformation spreads online, CNBC reported Wednesday.

The tech giant laid off an estimated 40 to 45 workers at Google News, according to the Alphabet Workers Union, per CNBC. The union represents workers at the tech giant.

A spokesperson for Google confirmed cuts to the team to CNBC but didn’t specify exactly how many jobs were impacted. Google and the Alphabet Workers Union did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Google News is a news aggregating service that looks at thousands of global news sources. Readers are able to keep up with the most popular stories on a particular topic and stay informed about what’s going on around the world. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of war on October 7 after Hamas staged a surprise attack and launched thousands of rockets into southern and central Israel, killing more than 1,400 people in Israel. Meanwhile, retaliatory attacks by Israel in Gaza have killed around 3,000 people, according to local authorities.

The war between Israel and Hamas has been surrounded by the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation online and on social media.

Shayan Sardarizadeh, a journalist at BBC Verify, compiled some of the worst examples on X — formerly known as Twitter. In one example, he shows a video that claims to be an air assault by Hamas militants on Israel but is actually taken from the video game Arma 3.

Lawmakers have been seeking answers from tech giants about the spread of false information online. 

US senator Michael Bennet addressed a letter to Meta, TikTok, X, and Google chiefs this week asking how they’re tackling this issue. He wrote: “Deceptive content has ricocheted across social media sites since the conflict began, sometimes receiving millions of views.” 

“In many cases, your platforms’ algorithms have amplified this content, contributing to a dangerous cycle of outrage, engagement, and redistribution,” he added.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees on Tuesday about the company’s efforts to counter disinformation saying: “Content moderation on our platforms is a critical focus right now. We will continue to tackle disinformation, hate speech, graphic content and terrorist content.” 

He didn’t specify how the company is actually addressing the issue, however.

According to The Information, Google has also recently laid off workers in other departments such as its self-driving car unit, Waymo. This follows substantial layoffs at the start of this year, where the tech giant trimmed around 6% of its workforce in a bid to cut costs.


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