A past senior aide to former President Barack Obama, who became a Google executive in charge of “tackling disinformation”, has joined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a senior leader from this week.
Kristie Canegallo, who was vice president of Trust and Safety in Google beginning March 2018, was appointed chief of staff in DHS on Monday.
“I am excited to share with you that Kristie Canegallo will join our Department as our new Chief of Staff on January 10, 2022,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
“I have worked closely with Kristie in the past and know firsthand that she will be a great colleague and of tremendous support to us all,” Mayorkas said.
According to Google’s website, Canegallo’s role was to “ensure Google is a trusted source of information, content, and interactions” across Google’s portfolio, including Google Search, Google News, YouTube, and advertising platforms.
Before that, Canegallo served as White House deputy chief of staff from 2014 through January 2017, during which time she crossed paths with Mayorkas, then-director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Jon Feere, who was the senior advisor to the director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during the Trump administration, has raised concerns about the appointment.
“The Biden administration is fully aware that their anti-borders policies are wildly unpopular, so their selection of a person who has spent her time eliminating opinions online is certainly suspect,” Feere told The Epoch Times via email.
“She’s now playing a key role in the release of thousands of criminal aliens into our communities and will naturally see a lot of pushback on this horrific agenda,” he said.
“It wouldn’t be surprising to her see former Google colleagues help her out by expanding their definition of ‘anti-migrant’ and further stifling speech online,” he continued.
While speaking at a conference in Europe, Canegallo highlighted Google’s work with the EU on their “anti-hate speech Code of Conduct”. The results show that the top category for “swift removal of illegal hate speech” is what they call “xenophobia/ anti-migrant hatred.” (cont.)… pic.twitter.com/Alxe0HqN9q
— Jon Feere (@JonFeere) January 10, 2022
In 2021, close to 2 million illegal immigrants from 150 different countries were apprehended along the southwest border—more than double 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, according to data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
“While there is certainly a need for Silicon Valley to bar criminal content, a line is quickly crossed when policy preferences and opinions are banned in an overbroad manner,” added Feere, now director of investigations at the Center for Immigration Studies.
“Fighting disinformation” was an important part of Canegallo’s work with Google. In 2019 at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, she and her team presented a white paper (pdf) detailing how Google “tackle[s] the intentional spread of misinformation.”
Google and other Big Techs such as Twitter and Facebook have been widely criticized for their censorship and political bias.
In an early 2020 article titled “Supporting the 2020 U.S. election”, Canegallo said her team “span the globe to monitor and disrupt account hijackings, inauthentic activity, disinformation campaigns, coordinated attacks, and other forms of abuse on our platforms on a 24/7 basis.”
CBS “60 Minutes” found that in 2019, Google took down over 300 of President Donald Trump’s political ads. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said at the time that some of the videos were “not approved to run.” But Google didn’t give specific reasons why it took down the ads or what company policy they violated.
In a co-authored article published in December 2020, Canegallo vowed to fight misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
One of the strategies is to raise “authoritative information.” The article said that since the beginning of the pandemic, Google has given $250 million in grants “to help more than 100 government agencies around the world run critical public service announcements about COVID-19.”
“Our teams have removed more than 700,000 videos related to dangerous or misleading COVID-19 medical information. We also continue to remove harmful COVID-19 misinformation across other products like Ads, Google Maps, and the Play store,” the article stated.
DHS hasn’t responded to a request from The Epoch Times for comment.