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Googled on the Radio

This morning I did a spot about Google’s China censorship on the BBC’s 5 Live radio, ”Wake Up to Money”. The show can be heard via this link [1], with my part being about half way through the Friday broadcast).

The topic came up due to a proposition put to Google’s AGM by a shareholder (the Office of the Comptroller of New York City) that the company should ensure free speech and protect users in places where “political speech can be treated as a crime”. The proposal was, unsurprisingly, voted down (and Google’s 2-tier shareholding structure is not very democratic).

Here are key points I made on the show, with some additional notes:

Whether online or in the real world, the actions that global companies, such as Google, take are seen in a global context. Reputational damage from going into a market, or potential losses from saying out, can generate different responsese from different stakeholders – and have an impact on share prices. Analysis of risk should therefore go hand in hand with analysis of opportunity when making commercial decisions – but political posturing should be reserved for the politicians.