Common Sense Media Praises Google Donations to Award Program

Photograph by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

The Google IO Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based advocacy group that supports efforts to help kids with media and technology, says Google Inc. is one of 60 companies that have helped fund its annual awards program.

Mountain View, California-based Google contributed $25,000 to the group last year as it honored Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz. At the time, the FTC was investigating  whether Google unfairly disadvantaged competing websites by favoring its own services in search results.

By a 5-0 vote, the agency ended the 20-month probe Jan. 3 with no enforcement action. Google agreed to voluntary changes in some search practices and signed a consent decree.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, said the timing of the contribution “really looks terrible.”

Colby Zintl, vice president of marketing and communications for Common Sense Media, said Google was a long-time supporter of the group.

“Google has also been a long-time collaborator with Common Sense Media’s digital literacy and citizenship efforts,” Zintl said. “In 2012, the awards raised more than $732,000 to support our mission of providing tools, information, and support for parents and educators who are raising kids in a digital world. We are and continue to be appreciative of Google’s generous support and partnership.”

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