Google used to have an iconic clause in its code of conduct that said, “Don’t be evil.” Yet the clause was recently and quietly sent down the memory hole.
Given the recent House Judiciary Committee hearing involving Google CEO Sundar Pichai to testify on issues like the secretive Dragonfly project that would install a special censorship search engine for Chinese citizens…it’s a little creepy.
Did Google symbolically peel off its last visage of propriety when it dropped its don’t-be-evil clause?
Gizmodo reported in May that the “don’t be evil” concept went through a metamorphosis:
Google’s unofficial motto has long been the simple phrase “don’t be evil.” But that’s over, according to the code of conduct that Google distributes to its employees. The phrase was removed sometime in late April or early May, archives hosted by the Wayback Machine show.
“Don’t be evil” has been part of the company’s corporate code of conduct since 2000. When Google was reorganized under a new parent company, Alphabet, in 2015, Alphabet assumed a slightly adjusted version of the motto, “do the right thing.” However, Google retained its original “don’t be evil” language until the past several weeks. The phrase has been deeply incorporated into Google’s company culture—so much so that a version of the phrase has served as the wifi password on the shuttles that Google uses to ferry its employees to its Mountain View headquarters, sources told Gizmodo.'
Read more: Why Did Google Choose NOW to Remove “Don’t Be Evil” Clause from Its Code of Conduct?