Berliners Win Battle Against Google With Social Media Campaign

Google halted plans to build a Google Campus in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg after a two year battle with local protestors.

Berliners used the hashtag #fuckoffgoogle to unify a series of social media posts that made commentary against Google’s planned expansion in Kreuzberg, as well as to help guide potential protestors to a variety of protest events.

The Google facility was intended to host a cafe, a start-up office and a coworking space. With the fastest rising housing rates in the world, the locals feared that Google’s entrance into the area would further exacerbate the rise in local rent, which would kickstarting gentrification.

A variety of protests took place over the last few months. In May there was a protest  in which participants intentionally made a lot of noise in a park near the site of the expected campus with the aim of disrupting the facility. Protesters later stormed and occupied the building, which resulted in police intervention and a number of arrests.

The #fuckoffcampaign website cites a number of other concerns, ranging from tax evasion to net security violations by Google. The site claims that Google has a number of human rights violations on its record and that Google’s original motto “don’t be evil” is “long forgotten.”

Rowan Barnett, head of Google for Entrepreneurs, announced on Twitter that the building’s ownership would be transferred from Google to two local social projects – Betterplace.org and Karuna. The new purpose of the building is to act as a “house of social commitment.”

In tandem with this announcement, Ralf Bremer, a spokesman for Google, released a statement to the Berliner Zeitung.

“We do not let protestors influence what we do.”

Fortune said, “The Google Campus saga could give pause to entrepreneurs thinking of trading in Silicon Valley for Silicon Allee.”

Google has no official alternative plans for Kreuzberg as of now. That being said, Ralf Bremer and his development team have retreated to the previously established Google offices in Mitte, another Berlin neighborhood.

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