Google and Meta withdraw from Web Summit after founder’s remarks on Israel

Google and Meta have pulled out of the prominent tech Web Summit after the event founder made remarks about Israel.

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Google and Meta have both announced their withdrawal from the Web Summit, a major global technology conference, following remarks made by its founder, Paddy Cosgrave, regarding Israel. Cosgrave’s criticism of Western support for Israel and accusations of war crimes by the country sparked significant backlash on X (formerly known as Twitter). He later resigned from the event and apologised on the Web Summit website, acknowledging the profound hurt caused by his comments on the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

The fallout from Cosgrave’s remarks has resulted in several sponsors and attendees withdrawing from the conference. Prominent tech executives, including Garry Tan from Y Combinator and Ravi Gupta from Sequoia Capital, canceled their plans to attend in response to the highly publicized controversy. A top event sponsor, Siemens, has also retracted its support due to the widespread backlash.

Why does it matter?

The Web Summit, one of the world’s largest technology conferences, now faces potential reputational damage and diminished impact due to the significant withdrawals. This incident highlights the sensitivity of discussing sensitive geopolitical issues within the tech industry. The withdrawal of industry giants like Google and Meta sends a strong message about maintaining neutrality and sensitivity in global conflict discussions.