Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
Mark Zuckerberg reportedly said Facebook is ‘not gonna change’ its policies on policing hate speech, in response to a boycott by more than 500 advertisers over the company’s hate speech policies. Major brands like Coca-Cola, Ford, Starbucks, and Verizon have joined the boycott. Apple is re-closing 30 more stores in the US as coronavirus cases have spiked across the country. Apple will be re-closing stores in Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Facebook and Google may be forced to share their data with rivals, as the UK seeks to check their power. The UK’s competition regulator has recommended closer scrutiny of the two platforms, noting their ‘unassailable’ market positions in digital advertising. A team of advocacy groups is urging antitrust regulators around the world to take a hard look at the Google-Fitbit merger, saying the deal ‘is not in the interest of citizens’. A letter signed by 20 consumer and citizen advocacy groups is asking regulators to closely scrutinize Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit. SoftBank-backed insurance startup Lemonade has reportedly raised $319 million in its IPO. Lemonade priced 11 million shares at $29 per share, according to a source. Apple CEO Tim Cook has agreed to testify in House antitrust investigation. Cook’s acceptance makes him the last of the four major tech CEOs to signal their intent to testify to the House’s Judiciary Committee antitrust probe, Apple Insider reported. Palmer Luckey’s military contracting startup Anduril is now worth $1.9 billion. Anduril, founded by Luckey, nearly doubled its valuation with a $200 million round of funding, which it plans to invest in developing its surveillance tech. The feds are reportedly looking into Tesla’s Model S battery cooling system. The Los Angeles Times reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into Tesla’s Model S battery cooling system. MIT is taking its highly cited dataset that trained AI systems to potentially describe people using racist, misogynistic, and other problematic terms offline. The Register suggested that the university’s training set would be removed following its reporting. NDAs in tech are causing a wall of silence which prevents racial progress at companies. Protocol reported that former tech employees had experienced racism and discrimination in the workplace but didn’t speak out for fear of legal retribution from employers. The UK House of Lords Gambling Committee says video game loot boxes should be regulated under gambling laws. “If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling,” their report says, per the BBC.
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