Statistics professor Salil Mehta, adjunct professor at Columbia and Georgetown who teaches probability and data science and whose work has appeared on this website on numerous prior occasions, was banned by Google on Friday.
What did Salil do to provoke Google? It is not entirely clear, however what is clear is that his repeated attempts at restoring his email, blog and other Google-linked accounts have so far been rejected with a blanket and uniform statement from the search giant.
Here is what happened, in Salil Mehta’s own words.
Don’t do a googol of evil
Freedom is not free unless corporations who exert a large influence in our lives believe in our well-being. I am a statistics professor and understand that there needs to be reasonable standards to control a large social network and make sure everyone is able to enjoy it freely. Invariably people disagree (we all see this), but some principles, such as simply showing probability and statistics with the sole hope of educating others, should be acceptable and in the middle of the distribution. I am for a higher standard, and a higher purpose. There is great care that I have taken to make sure that people treat one other well, admit faults, and present math and probability education to a wide audience.
On Friday afternoon East Coast Time by surprise, I was completely shut down in all my Google accounts (all of my gmail accounts, blog, all of my university pages that were on google sites, etc.) for no reason and no warning. A number of us were stunned and unsure, but clearly we know at this point it wasn’t an accident. Here are some examples commented from best-selling author Nassim Taleb, and they have been retweeted by government officials, and the NYT and WSJ journalists.
Even his email was disabled by Google. https://t.co/Zj9g9MpKzr
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb) August 19, 2017