Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, on January 30, 2023.
Marlena Sloss | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Google cut dozens of jobs in its news division this week, downsizing at a particularly sensitive time for online platforms and publishers, CNBC has learned.
An estimated 40 to 45 Google News workers lost their jobs, according to a spokesperson for the Alphabet labor union, who did not know the exact number.
A Google spokesperson confirmed the cuts but did not provide a figure, and said there were still hundreds of people working on the news product.
The spokesman said: “We are deeply committed to a vibrant information ecosystem, and news is part of this long-term investment.” “We’ve made some internal changes to streamline our organization. A small number of employees have been affected. We’re supporting everyone with a transition period, outplacement services, and severance packages as they seek new opportunities at Google and beyond.”
Google News offers links to articles from thousands of publishers and magazines. It’s a popular tab for people using Google search, allowing them to find top-ranking stories on a particular topic.
The layoffs come amid a war between Israel and Hamas that has claimed thousands of lives in both Israel and Gaza since October 7, and 20 months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Both wars have led to a significant increase in the spread of misinformation across the Internet, increasing the importance of Google and other sites that users rely on to find the latest news.
Sen. Michael Bennet, Democrat of Colorado, on Tuesday Requested For information on how to use Google; X, formerly known as Twitter; dead; TikTok was trying to stop the spread of false and misleading content about the conflict between Israel and Hamas on their platforms.
EU industry chief Thierry Breton called on companies, including Google, to take tougher steps to fight disinformation as the conflict escalates. Britton specifically directed Letters to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Neil Mohan, reminding them of content moderation requirements under EU digital services law.
Some tech companies said they did Overcrowded Content moderators scramble to fight misinformation.
Meanwhile, Canada and other countries are looking to introduce laws that would force tech platforms to compensate publishers for their work.
The cuts at Google News come on the heels of widespread layoffs in many parts of the company this year. In January, Google announced that it would cut 12,000 jobs, affecting approximately 6% of its full-time workforce. Last month, the company cut hundreds of jobs from its recruitment organization.
Staff Engineer at Google News books Posted on LinkedIn on Tuesday regarding the layoffs.
“These are some of the best and brightest people I have ever worked with,” the person wrote. “We are certainly worse off without them.”
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“Beer aficionado. Gamer. Alcohol fanatic. Evil food trailblazer. Avid bacon maven.”