Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.
- LinkedIn founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman apologized for his role in rehabilitating Jeffrey Epstein's public image in 2015. Hoffman invited Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, and Epstein to an August 2015 dinner in Palo Alto with Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Peter Thiel.
- The FBI is reportedly investigating Facebook board member Peter Thiel's venture capital firm Mithril Capital over allegations of "financial misconduct." A Mithril spokesperson chalked this episode up to nothing more than "a foiled plot by a self-serving ex-employee."
- In a letter made public on Thursday, MIT President L. Rafael Reif said an independently run investigation found that MIT officials were aware of Jeffrey Epstein's donations to MIT Media Lab run by investor Joi Ito as early as 2013. They allowed Ito to keep the donations although they "knew in general terms" of charges against Epstein, Reif said.
- Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google all skipped signing a letter from 145 CEOs urging the Senate to take action on gun control. The letter's signatories included Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
- Elon Musk suggested that Tesla is working on a new powertrain that will make the Model S, Model X, and Roadster quicker. The "Plaid" powertrain as Musk called it is a reference to an unusually high speed achieved by a spacecraft in the movie "Spaceballs."
- PewDiePie retracted a $50,000 donation he made to Jewish anti-hate group the Anti-Defamation League. PewDiePie said Thursday that "a lot of things" about the ADL had surfaced since his announcement of the donation, and he instead wants to choose a charity he's "personally passionate about."
- WeWork is debating whether to take power away from Adam and Rebekah Neumann, its husband and wife cofounders, to get its IPO back on track. The company and its advisors are considering whether to reduce Neumann's voting power from the 20 votes per share that he has now, the Financial Times reported.
- Huawei is trying to sell all its 5G patents to a Western buyer in a bid to placate Trump and dodge national security concerns. CEO Ren Zhengfei told the Economist that he wants to create a viable rival for Huawei, but has "no idea" who might take up the offer.
- France's minister of finance said on Thursday that Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency cannot be allowed to operate in Europe. "This eventual privatization of money contains risks of abuse of dominant position, risks to sovereignty, and risks for consumers and for companies" said Bruno le Maire at a meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
- Google says it's tweaked its search algorithm to prioritise original reporting. When exclusive stories or interviews get picked up by other news outlets, Google will still tout the original story highest.
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