Google CEO Sundar Pichai has detailed his plans regarding employee safety, cybersecurity initiatives, and curbing misinformation amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militia group Hamas in an internal email addressed to employees. Pichai also addressed the two Google offices in Israel, one in Tel Aviv and another in Hanifa, where two thousand employees work, emphasizing that the company is taking every possible step to ensure the safety of every Googler and to continue any support needed.
The internal email was sent on Saturday, just a few hours after the attack on Israel by Hamas. 9to5Google procured the email and shared its content in a report. In it, Pichai said, “I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the news of the terrible attacks on civilians in Israel, and the escalated conflict now underway”.
“Google has two offices and more than 2,000 employees in Israel, and it’s unimaginable what they are experiencing right now. Our priority is making sure that every Googler in the area is accounted for and safe — beyond our employees based locally, we have identified more who were traveling there. GSRS is continuing safety checks as we speak — locating every employee and ensuring they have the best security information we can offer from our experts. We’ve spent today connecting with most of them, but it will take some time to reach everyone,” he added.
According to the report, Google has completed its safety checks and shared the security information with them. Google will continue to connect and provide support to the employees in Israel.
Google to provide authentic information amid the Israel-Hamas conflict
While the first part of the email focused on employee security, the second part focused on providing “authoritative information in moments of crisis and breaking news”.
“Our teams are working around the clock to ensure this, as well as to detect and remove graphically violent, hateful or terrorist content, or coordinated disinformation campaigns,” Pichai said.
Google also released a full statement on the situation, which has also been shared by 9to5Google.
The statement: Following the terrible attacks in Israel, our immediate focus has been on ensuring our employees’ safety. We’ve now made contact with all of our local employees, and we’ll continue supporting them.
We’re also working to provide reliable, accurate information to people who use our products. Our systems across Google and YouTube prioritize authoritative information in moments of crisis and breaking news. Our teams are working around the clock to ensure this, as well as to detect and remove graphically violent, hateful or terrorist content, or coordinated disinformation campaigns.
Our cybersecurity experts are also sharing their findings in real time with the broader security community. For example, our security unit, Mandiant, has observed fake accounts connected to Iran which are promoting anti-Israeli narratives across various services, as well as investigating reports of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks by suspected pro-Hamas and pro-Russia hacktivist groups targeting Israeli government websites.
Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones, and all those affected.