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Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Enough is enough. Congress should pass, and the next president should sign, legislation saying that social media networks can be held liable for damage caused by incitements to violence and libelous false information shared on their platforms. This would require a shift in how companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube do business and could raise their costs significantly. But the health of American democracy is more important than allowing these companies and their shareholders to continue to profit from allowing propagandists to spread lies and groups to organize violent actions on their platforms. Many of the photos and social media videos of the Capitol mob on Wednesday depict what looks like fun-loving idiots, posing with their feet on desks and vaping in offices. But there were also people carrying tactical gear, like this guy holding a bunch of flex cuffs, which are typically used by police in situations where they're arresting and detaining a group of people (as noticed earlier by Slate): Rioters in the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC., as Congress held a joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College
Pilots take part in practice rounds at the Drone Racing League / Allianz World Championship final at Alexandra Palaceon June 08, 2017 in London, England. Adam Gray | Barcroft Media | Getty Images Sports betting company DraftKings and the Drone Racing League (DRL) announced an exclusive deal on Friday that will let people bet on drone races. It should also help DraftKings cater to a younger audience. DRL is a first-person-view racing league where drone pilots race devices through neon-lit courses and compete for top prize money. DRL did not provide the amount it pays its competitors, but in a 2017 the award amount reached $100,000. The two sides did not provide financial terms of the deal. People in Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia can place bets on drone races from their phones. Established in 2015, DRL has built up interest among younger sports fans over the years. It's set to complete the fifth season and will have a "level 14" racing event on Saturday followed by its championship event, which has yet to be announced. Drones used in events are designed and
VMware has committed to achieving gender parity as part of its list of goals to reach this decade, COO Sanjay Poonen told CNBC's Jim Cramer Monday. The cloud computing and virtualization software company has laid out 30 goals to meet by 2030, and addressing the makeup of the workforce is one of its most important initiatives, he said. "We want to see more diversity in the workplace. We're committed to having 50% of our managers be women," he said in a "Mad Money" interview. VMware, a global company that offers services to connect apps to the data from anywhere, employs 31,000, according to FactSet. As of the most recent figures released in January 2020, VMware's workforce is made up of 74% men and almost 26% women. Leadership roles at the company reflect the gender divide with about 24% of those positions going to women and just under 76% going to men. The racial breakdown of VMware's U.S. workforce is even starker, with just 3% of roles being filled by African Americans, 5.8% going to Hispanic or LatinX workers and 31% going to Asians, data show. Among leadership ranks, the numbers are 1.5%, 3.8% and 26%, respectively. Workforce diversity
Xiaomi's Headquarters Getty Images GUANGZHOU, China — The Trump administration has added smartphone maker Xiaomi to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies. Hong Kong-listed shares of the Chinese firm were down 10.6% at the open on Friday on that news. Beijing-based Xiaomi was the world's third-largest smartphone maker in the third quarter of 2020, according to Counterpoint Research. The move means that Xiaomi is now subject to a November executive order restricting American investors from buying shares or related securities of any companies designated by the Department of Defense to be a Chinese military company. Trump's initial executive order was subsequently expanded to force investors to divest, or sell out, of affected holdings, by Nov. 11 this year. Xiaomi was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. The company is listed in Hong Kong and not in the U.S. "The Department is determined to highlight and counter the People's Republic of China's (PRC) Military-Civil Fusion development strategy, which supports the modernization goals of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise acquired and developed
The Google logo outside if its New York City offices, which were closed on May 19, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ben Gabbe/Getty Images Alphabet employees have long clashed with the company's executives and pushed for change, and its mobilizing efforts, while large, are usually short lived. Now, Alphabet's Workers Union is hoping it can be a catalyst for change and create long-lasting effects. "Our hope is that through a union and through the structure and resources that will be able to provide us, and the skills that really hundreds of years worth of labor organizing has generated, will give us a way to keep this fight up for years to come and fight more sustainably and really win even bigger demands," said Parul Koul, AWU's executive chair and Google software engineer, in a "Squawk Alley" interview. The union, supported by the Communications Workers of America, was announced Monday after years of longstanding tension between executives and employees and contractors of all ranks. In 2018, Google employees wrote a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai asking him to end a partnership between Google and the Pentagon. Later that
The WhatsApp messaging app is displayed on an Apple iPhone on May 14, 2019 in San Anselmo, California. Facebook owned messaging app WhatsApp announced a cybersecurity breach that makes users vulnerable to malicious spyware installation iPhone and Android smartphones. WhatsApp is encouraging its 1.5 billion users to update the app as soon as possible. Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News | Getty Images India's technology ministry has asked Facebook-owned messaging giant WhatsApp to withdraw planned changes to its privacy policy that has drawn widespread backlash, multiple media outlets reported. In an email addressed to WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart dated Jan. 18, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said the proposed changes raised "grave concerns" over the implications for choice and autonomy of Indian citizens, Reuters reported. The update relates specifically to features that allow users to interact with businesses on WhatsApp. The ministry reportedly said it was worried about the lack of choice Indian users had over opting out of WhatsApp's planned policy update compared with those in Europe, where data protection rules are more stringent. The tech ministry reportedly called it "discriminatory treatment" that "betrays
Signal app Signal Facebook's WhatsApp is changing its privacy policy on Feb. 8, when it will begin to share some user information with Facebook, including location, phone numbers, profile names and pictures, when you last logged online and more. People are now flocking to an alternative texting app called Signal that doesn't collect your data. According to Reuters, daily downloads have increased 18x since WhatsApp changed its privacy policy, topping more than 800,000 downloads daily. That was likely partially boosted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted 'use Signal,' earlier this month. Signal, like WhatsApp, is a chat app that lets you message and call friends and family using end-to-end encryption, which means your messages are more protected and can't be easily read by anyone, including Signal itself. It supports group messages and other fun features you might already use in chat apps, like GIFs, videos and pictures. It even has encrypted group video calls, though supported is limited to five people right now. It's completely free and you can use it on iPhones, Android phones, Macs, Windows PCs and Linux. Signal isn't some massive tech company
Twenty/20 Bitcoin tumbled below $30,000 on Thursday, as the cryptocurrency continued its 2021 slide after quadrupling in value last year. The digital currency dropped 17% to $29,246.77, wiping out about $100 billion from the market, according to data from CoinDesk. It's now down more than 30% since peaking at $41,940 earlier this month. The latest plunge, which comes without any clear reason, underscores the volatility of a currency that's become a popular investment for day traders in recent years even as it still has limited real-world application. Bitcoin rose over 300% in 2020, closing the year right about where it sits currently. Ether, the digital currency that's second to Bitcoin in total value, dropped even more on Thursday, declining 22% to $1053.80. It's now 27% below its high from earlier this week, according to CoinDesk. Ether rose 471% last year. President Joe Biden picked Gary Gensler, the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and an ex-Goldman Sachs baker, to be the next chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gensler taught about cryptocurrencies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, starting in 2018. WATCH: Crypto
The Amazon headquarters sits virtually empty on March 10, 2020 in downtown Seattle, Washington. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon recommended all employees in its Seattle office to work from home, leaving much of downtown nearly void of people. John Moore | Getty Images Amazon is opening a pop-up clinic in Seattle to administer Covid-19 vaccines. The one-day clinic will be set up on Sunday at Amazon's headquarters in downtown Seattle, the company announced Thursday at a news conference with Washington Governor Jay Inslee. "The truth is, Covid-19 has been a tragedy for the country, for the world and for Washington," Amazon's top spokesperson, Jay Carney, said during the news conference. "We're eager to help save lives here in our home state, to rebuild the economy with you and turn the page on Covid as quickly as we can." The clinic, which is being launched in partnership with Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, has a goal of administering 2,000 vaccines to the eligible members of the public. Amazon is providing the space to administer the vaccines, as well as assisting with logistics, an Amazon spokesperson
Digital ad company Taboola says it plans to go public via a merger with ION Acquisition Corp, a special acquisition corporation.  The company places content boxes on sites across the internet with headlines such as "8 Celebs Who Have Severe Illnesses" or "Look Who's Going Bankrupt Next in America," pulling in revenue for the publisher. The company says it's used by more than 13,000 advertisers to reach over 500 million daily active users. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter, and the combined company will operate under the Taboola name and will trade on the NYSE under the symbol "TBLA." The deal gives Taboola a pro forma valuation of about $2.6 billion. "The open web is really important, even essential, because it's free and diverse and doesn't belong to any one giant company. Think about every website you love — every game, app on a mobile device or connected TV that lives outside of the walled gardens," Taboola CEO and founder Adam Singolda wrote in a blog post Monday.  "But open web companies are dependent on walled gardens that compete against them with more data, more tech and more advertiser relationships, while advertisers have no choice
Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, with a rocket under the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner, takes off for a key drop test of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California, July 10, 2019. Mike Blake | Reuters Virgin Orbit, the rocket company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, successfully put its first satellites into space using its novel air launch system. The California-headquartered company said that 10 mini-satellites had been carried into space by the same rocket, which was launched from the wing of an old Boeing 747 jumbo jet as it flew over the Pacific Ocean. The jet, nicknamed Cosmic Girl, took off from Mojave Air and Space Port at approximately 10:50 a.m. PST on Sunday. Almost 60 minutes later, it dropped the "LauncherOne" rocket about 50 miles south of the California Channel Islands at a height of 35,000 feet. After release, the rocket engine ignited, accelerating LauncherOne into space at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour. Just over an hour later, at an altitude of 500 km, it deployed 10 shoebox-sized satellites, which were developed by universities and selected by NASA.
Promo for Frito-Lay Super Bowl commercial. Frito-Lay Frito-Lay said it's planning three Super Bowl ads next month, including one highlighting NFL stars Peyton and Eli Manning, Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders. The PepsiCo subsidiary said one spot will highlight Doritos 3D Crunch, the '90s-era snack the company recently said it was reviving. The third spot will promote its Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix, which was introduced Monday and mixes Cheetos with its Cheetos Popcorn.  The ad with the NFL players will be a portfolio spot running just before the Feb. 7th game's kickoff at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. It will be part of a broader marketing campaign from Frito-Lay launching ahead of the game, but the company declined to provide details or timing. The other two will run during the game. While Super Bowl LV may look different than the 54 earlier championship games because of the pandemic, the company said it still expects the broadcast to be the most-watched event of the year, and a priority for the company's marketing plan. Frito-Lay said snack consumption has seen a major gain during the Covid pandemic. NFL commissioner Roger