After a week of almost unanimous silence, the tech industry is speaking out en masse against Trump’s policies today.
Facebook CTO Sheryl Sandberg was the first major tech executive to challenge the president over his anti-abortion policy, saying on Thursday that it “could have terrible consequences for women and families around the world.”
Then on Friday, Zuckerberg himself issued a response to Trump’s order banning refugees and barring citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days.
And finally today: a chorus of dissent from some of the Valley’s idealistic leaders, among them Google. The cause for the sudden opposition is simple: At this moment, “nearly 200” Google employees are reportedly affected by Trump’s ban. Anyone, including tech workers, traveling with an H-1B Visa (a “skilled worker” visa) is affected — possibly Green Card holders, too.
A small handful of tech leaders, like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, are attempting to sway the president’s policies in various directions. But so far there’s no sign that this strategy is working.
Now is perhaps a good time to ask: At what point do we demand that Trump reopen our doors? When will Silicon Valley revolt and hit Trump back where it hurts? If Trump weakens libel laws and starts aggressively jailing journalists and intimidating activists — including perhaps the groups of tech workers who’ve organized against him — will Silicon Valley act? Where is the line?
Here’s another way to look at it: If Trump bans Twitter employees from returning to the country — we’ve reached out to Twitter to see if any of its employees are effected by the ban — does Jack Dorsey ban Trump from Twitter? What about Google? Facebook?
To quote Anil Dash: “When net neutrality was the issue, Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, Reddit, Tumblr, etc. had a blackout, and it worked. This is far more grave.”
Silicon Valley needs to decide what is okay and what isn’t, and then draw a hard line.