Big Tech

Technology • Internet & Web
Australia passes new law requiring Facebook and Google to pay for news
Australia passes new law requiring Facebook and Google to pay for news
Credit: unsplash.com/Obi Onyeador

Australia's government has passed a new law that will require tech giants such as Facebook and Google to pay publishers for using their news content. Market regulator Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) publishers have had little negotiating power until now because they are so reliant on tech monopolies like Google and Facebook.

Technology • Internet & Web
CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify in misinformation hearing
CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify in misinformation hearing
Credit: unsplash.com/Prateek Katyal

Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey will testify in a hearing on misinformation and disinformation on online platforms before US House lawmakers on March 25.

"Whether it be falsehoods about the Covid-19 vaccine or debunked claims of election fraud, these online platforms have allowed misinformation to spread, intensifying national crises with real-life, grim consequences for public health and safety," so the Committee's chairs. "For far too long, big tech has failed to acknowledge the role they’ve played in fomenting and elevating blatantly false information to its online audiences. Industry self-regulation has failed. We must begin the work of changing incentives driving social media companies to allow and even promote misinformation and disinformation."

Technology • Internet & Web
Australian ministers say Facebook's news ban is "an assault" on democracy
Australian ministers say Facebook's news ban is "an assault" on democracy
Credit: unsplash.com/Brett Jordan

After Facebook blocked Australian users from accessing and sharing news on its platform, the Australian government heavily criticised the move, calling "an assault" to democracy while still moving forward in passing a law that would force Big Tech giants to pay for news.

“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote on Facebook. “They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it.”

Business
Salesforce says "9-to-5 workday is dead", creates flexible remote work policy
Mike Rosenbaum, Executive Vice President Platform, speaking at a keybote
Mike Rosenbaum, Executive Vice President Platform, speaking at a keybote Credit: Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Cloud-based software company Salesforce has announced a new remote work system that will allow for more flexible schedules and options, joining other tech companies like Facebook and Microsoft to offer remote-work policies.

"As we enter a new year, we must continue to go forward with agility, creativity and a beginner’s mind — and that includes how we cultivate our culture. An immersive workspace is no longer limited to a desk in our Towers; the 9-to-5 workday is dead; and the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks," so Salesforce in their statement published to the company blog.

Salesforce is introducing three different categories of work: flex (1-3 days per week for team collaboration, customer meetings, and presentations when it's safe to return to the office), fully remote (for employees who don’t live near an office or have roles that don’t require an office) and office-based (for a small population of their team who will work from an office location 4-5 days per week if they’re in roles that require it).

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook states Apple’s new iOS update will disrupt online advertising
Facebook states Apple’s new iOS update will disrupt online advertising
Credit: Greg Bulla

Facebook wrote, in a blog post towards its developer community, the changes being implemented in iOS 14 that the company "ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS 14 will be limited.".

According to Facebook, the update will probably mean that app developers will receive less advertising revenue due to the fact "some iOS 14 users may not see any ads from Audience Network, while others may still see ads from us, but they'll be less relevant."

The beta version of iOS 14 was released earlier this week, implementing a set of anti-tracking measures that limit the ability of advertisers to track a particular user and deliver highly tailored advertising.

Technology • Internet & Web
Telegram files EU antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store
Telegram files EU antitrust complaint against Apple’s App Store
Credit: Yuri Samoilov (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Telegram, the messaging app, filed a formal antitrust complaint to the EU over Apple’s App Store. The company joins Spotify and Rakuten in complaining the app store represents a monopoly power, given that developers have to accept Apple’s terms, including a 30 per cent commission on in-app purchases.

In its complaint, Telegram took issue with Apple’s argument that the App Store commission keeps it running. Pavel Durov, Telegram founder, stated "Every quarter, Apple receives billions of dollars from third-party apps. Meanwhile, the expenses required to host and review these apps are in the tens of millions, not billions of dollars. We know that because we at Telegram host and review more public content than the App Store ever will".

Business • Consumer & Service
Apple reports revenue of $59.69 billion in the third quarter
Apple Park headquarters
Apple Park headquarters Credit: Carles Rabada

Apple announced revenue of $59.7 billion and a net quarterly profit of $11.25 billion for the third fiscal quarter of 2020, which corresponds to the second calendar quarter of the year.

The company reported growth across all of its product lines for Q3, from the iPhone, which has seen slowed growth in recent years, to its booming wearables and services businesses. The iPhone revenue of $26.4 billion for the quarter, an increase from the year-ago quarter.

Business • Economy
Google will reportedly keep staff working remotely until at least July 2021
Google will reportedly keep staff working remotely until at least July 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/ Greg Bulla

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Google plans to keep its 200,000+ employees working remotely until at least July 2021. Google would be the first technology company to extend the Covid-19 remote work measures into the next year.

Technology • Internet & Web
Tech platforms accused of having up to thousands of subcontracts with US law enforcement agencies
Tech platforms accused of having up to thousands of subcontracts with US law enforcement agencies
Credit: unsplash.com / Morning Brew

The non-profit Tech Inquiry has discovered alleged ties between technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft with the United States law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Tech inquiry has analyzed over 30 million governmental contracts from the past five years and sub-contracts below them. They discovered that Google and Amazon several hundreds of subcontracts with United States law enforcement agencies while Microsoft several thousand.