Alphabet Ditches Google’s “Don’t be Evil” Mantra

/ 3 years ago

don't be evil

While some may question whether the company ever really adhered to it, Google’s corporate motto since 2004 has been “don’t be evil”. The bold statement was described by Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail and suggester of said slogan, as “something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out”. Well, that’s exactly what Alphabet, the name the recently rebranded Google Inc. now operates under, has done.

Reading Alphabet’s new Code of Conduct, the emotive phrase “don’t be evil” seems to have been replaced with the more generic and vague “do the right thing”. The preface reads:

“Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates (“Alphabet”) should do the right thing – follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.

We expect all of our employees and Board members to know and follow this Code of Conduct. Failure to do so can result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment. Any waivers of this Code for directors or executive officers must be approved by our Board.”

The difference between “don’t be evil” and “do the right thing” might be pure semantics, but the change from an identifiable mission statement to bland cliché could point to the homogenisation of a once unique brand. Let’s hope that’s all it is, and the revision of the company’s ethics isn’t a sign of a shift into more egregious user exploitation on the part of Alphabet.

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