Does Google have too much power? That’s the claim being made after a DC think tank heavily funded by the company removed one of its members for criticizing Google’s monopolistic practices.
The left-leaning New America Foundation has received more than $21 million from Google, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt, and the Schmidt family foundation since 1999. But senior fellow Barry Lynn, founder of New America's Open Markets program, didn’t let the funding stop him from penning a damning press release about Google’s “abuse of domination,” in which he also praised the EU Commission for hitting the tech giant with a record $2.7 billion fine.
According to the New York Times, Schmidt, who was chairman of New America until 2016, wasn’t happy about the piece and complained to group president Anne-Marie Slaughter. A few days later, Slaughter allegedly sent an email to Lynn stating: “The time has come for Open Markets and New America to part way.” The message claimed the decision was “in no way based on the content of your work,” but still accused Lynn of “imperiling the institution as a whole.”
Slaughter has since disputed this version of events. In a statement on the New America website, she writes: "I want to be clear: this claim is absolutely false." The organization's president claims that Lynn’s “repeated refusal to adhere to New America’s standards of openness and institutional collegiality meant that we could no longer work together as part of the same institution.”
Lynn is now changing the Open Markets Program into a group called Citizens Against Monopoly, which claims Google is “trying to censor journalists and researchers who fight dangerous monopolies.”
In a statement to the press, a Google representative said: “We support hundreds of organizations that promote a free and open Internet, greater access to information, and increased opportunity. We don’t agree with every group 100% of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions, and policy perspectives.”