The tech industry’s reaction to President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking citizens of seven Middle Eastern and African countries from entering the US was as diverse as it was swift. With firms in Silicon Valley and beyond dependent on a ready supply of foreign engineers and other skilled workers to power their growth, how they respond to Trump’s hard line on immigration will be important to watch.
So far, three main approaches have emerged:
- Preemptive resistance. Some companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Netflix, have been vocal in their opposition to the order. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a note on Facebook denouncing the ban. Google has pledged $4 million for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and co-founder Sergey Brin was seen at the protest against the ban at San Francisco International Airport. This could be a way of publicly putting a stake in the ground, and making sure their stance doesn’t go unnoticed by the US government.
- Keeping silent. Some businesses have remained silent over the issue. Telecom companies, for example, have been largely silent, including the big four carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint — according to Recode. This is likely because Trump’s stance on deregulating the industry is in line with their business strategies. It could also give them a more favorable seat on the administration, which could provide businesses with the ability to influence decisions the government might make, rather than raising the ire of a volatile US president.
- Take advantage of customers’ stance. Some companies are taking a more opportunistic approach and betting that they can gauge their consumer bases’ stance on the ban, using it to boost loyalty, usage, and global awareness. Companies such as Lyft, Airbnb, and Viber have issued statements aimed at immigrants and refugees affected by the ban. For example, Airbnb is offering a free accommodation to those stranded after being refused entry into the US. It’s important to note that this [...]