Google Laid off Dozens of Employees in its News Division


In a strategic move, Google has reportedly downsized its news division, cutting approximately 40 to 45 jobs, according to a spokesperson from the Alphabet Workers Union. The news comes at a critical juncture for online platforms and publishers, heightening concerns about the information ecosystem during sensitive global events.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the layoffs but refrained from disclosing the exact number, emphasizing that the company remains committed to fostering a vibrant information ecosystem. The affected employees, numbering in the tens, are being supported with a transition period, outplacement services, and severance as they explore new opportunities.

Google News, a platform that aggregates links to articles from a myriad of publishers and magazines, has been a popular tool for users relying on Google search to discover top-ranked stories on specific topics. The downsizing of Google’s news division is noteworthy amid ongoing geopolitical conflicts, such as the Israel-Hamas war and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which have led to a surge in the spread of misinformation.

Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado recently sought information on how major platforms, including Google, are addressing false and misleading content related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. European Union industry chief Thierry Breton also urged companies like Google to take stricter measures against disinformation in light of the escalating conflict, emphasizing content moderation requirements under the EU’s Digital Services Act.

While the internal changes at Google have affected several departments this year, the recent downsizing in the news division follows earlier layoffs in January, where the company announced a cut of 12,000 jobs, impacting around 6% of the full-time workforce. Last month, Google eliminated hundreds of positions from its recruiting organization.

Expressing solidarity with the affected employees, a staff engineer at Google News took to LinkedIn, describing them as some of the best and brightest individuals. The move to downsize Google’s news division raises questions about the company’s role in ensuring a reliable and quality information flow, especially during periods of heightened global tensions.

These internal changes at Google highlight the ongoing challenges faced by tech companies in balancing workforce management while maintaining effective measures against misinformation in the current complex geopolitical landscape.