There seems to be some kind of rumour going around that 13-year old Canadian-Indian boy Tanmay Bakshi was hired by Google. If you do a Google search for "tanmay bakshi google" you get lots of hits with titles that suggest that he was hired by Google (and sometimes with a specified annual salary).

These are some examples of sites that claim this story is real:

Tanmay is no doubt a very talented boy, that's not what I'm questioning. My first thought was "isn't child labour illegal?", so I tried to find a credible source. I couldn't, as they all seem to be either random blogs or Youtube videos of some interview where Google is not even mentioned once, with wildly misleading titles. Most of the "sources" seem to be either Indian websites or in other ways Indian-related (such as Indian commenters on Quora).

There is a Tweet by Tanmay himself, denying the rumour. This seems to be the only denial of the rumour I can find, and of course it can't be ruled out that he was indeed hired by Google after this Tweet.

So I'm thinking it's just a made up story, but I can't really figure out why and where it originated. Is there any truth to it?

  • Welcome to Skeptics! Can we find some specific examples of people making the claim?
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 26 '18 at 4:53
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    Child labor is not totally illegal in the USA and Canada. For example, you have probably seen hundreds or thousands of child characters in movies and TV shows made in the USA and Canada. Were those kid characters ,created with CGI? Real kids had real jobs acting those roles. In many jurisdictions children can work in family businesses. Once in the 1980s I walked into an ice cream parlor in Cape May, NJ and saw three boys aged about 12 behind the counter. They looked like triplets and I assumed their parents owned the place. The statement child labor is illegal is not totally correct. Feb 27 '18 at 2:34

He's not working for Google rather, he works with IBM.

More specifically, he volunteers his time in order to improve AI, and IBM gives him the resources necessary to do so. Details are drawn from this article, published less than a month ago :

Though he technically does not work for IBM, because he is not paid, Bakshi has continued to partner with the tech company on various projects.

He's spoken at conferences and has a well-known YouTube channel, so he's definitely real. Also, he's 14 at present, not 13, so any rumors which say he's 13 should set off a large red flag.

As to where this rumor may have come from, there was a similar story run in 2015 about a student at Delhi Technological University named Chetan Kakkar, who got a position at Google with a yearly compensation of Rs 1.27 crore (as seen in this link), a figure which is sometimes quoted or slightly fudged in the rumor (see this).

So it's possible that the two stories simply got mixed up. Most of the sites purporting this rumor link to this video, which appears to be an interview with an Australian news crew, which has nothing to do with Google.

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    Also, he's 14 at present, not 13, so any rumors which say he's 13 should set off a large red flag. How old was he when he was hired? Kids of age 14 usually have been 13 at some point.
    – JAD
    Jul 20 '18 at 6:41

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