Scribd reaches out to readers to say they ‘stand with immigrants’
Tech companies feel increasingly pressured to speak out on the new president’s travel ban, with some eager to do so, while others remaining largely silent, or vaguely announcing their support for diversity
The pressure on tech companies to comment on the actions being taken by the new Trump administration is building. Some have already wondered if this is unfair, as Silicon Valley companies are just like any other business, so why should they be called on to speak out before any other business? It is fair question, but in regards the pressure is fair, as well.
Tech companies such as Apple, Google or Amazon, let alone Tesla or Uber, interact with consumers in a unique way. They provide us our tools for communications, access to information. We all want to know where they will stand on issues such privacy, personal data, etc.
Yet, for the most part, the techs have tried to stay low. Many of these companies had their CEOs attend Trump’s pre-inaugural meetings, providing the president-elect with more positive publicity, and getting the techs very little in return, at least publicly.
Scribd’s foundrer and CEO Trip Adler today blogged about their stand, and also turned it into a solicitation for new business. No doubt some will consider the actions by the digital book service brazen opportunism:
Like many of you, I was deeply troubled by President Trump’s executive order suspending entry of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries. This policy goes against the values our country was built upon, and against the culture of diversity and inclusion we value at Scribd.
That’s why it’s important to us that everyone has the opportunity to educate themselves about what’s happening right now. We’ve created collections that will help you learn about history, immigration, civil rights, and how to make your voice heard.
In an effort to make this content available to anyone who wishes to read it, we will be offering a credit-card-free trial, essentially opening the Scribd library to everyone for the next month.
Scribd recently announced that they had added new magazines to their service: The Atlantic, Fast Company, Inc., Mother Jones, Nautilus, Newsweek and Popular Science.
No doubt many businesses have seen the reaction to the executive orders, with organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union able to raise over $10 million since the travel ban was announced.
Google yesterday acknowledged that it had established a $2 million crisis fund whereby the search giant would match up to $2 million in donations to the ACLU, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and UNHCR.
“We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.,” Google said in a statement. “We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”
Airbnb also publicly condemned Trump’s travel ban. “Barring refugees and people who are not a threat from entering America simply because they are from a certain country is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected. The doors to America shall remain open, and any that are locked will not be for long,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesk wrote in a note to staff.
Techs have seen how quickly the public is reacting. Uber was sharply criticized for what many saw as strike breaking on Friday evening. Quickly a Twitter campaign targeted the ride sharing service.
Update: John Paczkowski, who covers tech for BuzzFeed, is in possession of a company memo sent out by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:
— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) January 30, 2017
While the Bezos memos states another endorsement for diversity, and that “the full extent of Amazon’s resources are behind” anyone caught up in the travel ban, the company itself has not made a public statement.