Fact Check

App in the Face

Google did not give a $500,000 grant to Black Lives Matter, but their donation to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights will be used to fund a campaign run by BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

Published Nov 9, 2015


[green-label]Claim:[/green-label] Google donated $500,000 to the Black Lives Matter organization to fund an "anti-police" app.


[green-label]Example:[/green-label] [green-small][Collected via e-mail, October 2015][/green-small]

Did Google donate 500,000 to black lives matter's anti police app?

[green-label]Origins:[/green-label] On 5 November 2015, Frontpage Mag published an article headlined "GOOGLE DONATES $500K TO BLACK LIVES MATTER'S ACTIVIST'S ANTI-POLICE APP," reporting on a series of grants issued by Internet giant Google:

Between Google Ideas providing a platform for the anti-Gamergate crowd who want to censor the internet and Google plowing money into a racist hate group, the company is really going full Social Justice Warrior.

"Oakland's Ella Baker Center is receiving two grants of $500,000. The first will support Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, a fellow with the center who is working with the ACLU on a police violence reporting app."

Black Lives Matter is a racist hate group and Cullors has become notorious for everything from yelling at Democratic candidates to hating on Israel. She claims the US is conducting genocide against black people and rants about white supremacy.

So much for Don't Be Evil.

Although Frontpag largely regurgitated information from a USA Today article about Google.org's charitable donations, their piece left some readers were mistaken impressions.

First, Google did not specifically donate to the Black Lives Matter organization or Patrisse Cullors personally. The company announced on 3 November 2015 that they were giving $2.35 million in grants to three Bay Area non-profits working for racial justice, one of which, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, was the recipient of two $500,000 grants, While the Ellen Baker Center will be working with (among others) Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors on the Truth and Reinvestment campaign, the Google grant funds were specifically given to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and not the Black Lives Matter movement:

Google.org announced a $2.35 million investment in the movement for racial justice via grants to three community groups in the Bay Area. The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is honored to be among the first recipients, along with Silicon Valley De-Bug and OUSD's African American Male Achievement Program.

One of the two racial justice grants of $500,000 that the Ella Baker Center is receiving will support the launch of Restore Oakland, a nationally replicable multipurpose restorative justice and restorative economics hub we are creating with Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. The other will support our campaign for Truth and Reinvestment, being led by #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

The other grant of $500,000 will fund a tech-savvy, grassroots solution to end police violence against communities of color. Cullors will work with grassroots organizations in counties across the state to create a rapid response network that will prepare communities to respond effectively to police violence.

"The rapid response network will help communities mobilize and demand Truth and Reinvestment," said Cullors. "We need an honest examination of how our country's long history of racism, segregation, and oppression has led to a criminal justice system that disproportionately criminalizes, brutalizes, and incarcerates low-income families and communities of color. By connecting the truth of our history to a way forward, we can build solutions that reinvest in the communities that have been most harmed by the criminal justice system."

It should also be noted that the "Black Lives Matter's anti-police app" mentioned in the Frontpage article was actually developed by the Ella Baker Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, and is not "anti-police" software but rather an app for tracking reports of incidents involving law enforcement:

The second $500,000 grant to the Ella Baker Center will support a campaign led by BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors seeking to counter police violence.

The Truth and Reinvestment Campaign seeks to create a rapid response network that will allow communities to mobilize quickly in response to police violence, center officials said. The campaign also seeks to expand the use of the Mobile Justice App, an app developed by the Ella Baker Center and the American Civil Liberties Union to help community members record and report alleged civil rights violation or incidents involving law enforcement.

In summation, it's true that Google invested more than $2 million into non-profit organizations working for social justice, that some of the money went to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and that some of that money was earmarked for a campaign that is being led by one of the founding members of the Black Lives Matter movement. It is inaccurate, however, to say that Google donated $500,000 to either Black Lives Matter or a "BLM anti-police app," as the money wasn't given to BLM, the app in question wasn't developed by BLM, and the app isn't "anti-police" (i.e., something whose function is inherently harmful to police).


[green-label]Last updated:[/green-label] 8 November 2015

[green-label]Originally published:[/green-label] 8 November 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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