10 things in tech you need to know today
Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Tuesday.
- Amazon fired a New York warehouse worker who helped lead a protest on Monday against its coronavirus response. The worker, Chris Smalls, said he was fired in retaliation for his activism.
- Electric scooter startup Bird laid off 30% of staff as it tries to keep enough cash to last until the end of 2021. Bird said it is providing four weeks of pay, three months of health coverage and an extended time frame of 12 months for laid-off workers to exercise their stock options.
- Zoom is under scrutiny from the New York Attorney General for its privacy practices. The NY attorney general's office sent a letter to Zoom asking what new security measures the company has put in place, if any, to handle its huge surge in usage.
- Apple has broken with convention and is allowing some employees to take home prototypes of its newest devices. According to Bloomberg, the company has famously shunned home working to ensure secrecy around product launches, but has been forced to change this policy due to the pandemic.
- Twitter is cracking down on coronavirus misinformation with stricter rules on accuracy. The social media giant has deleted tweets from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Rudy Giuliani in recent days.
- Airbnb is paying hosts $250 million after they criticized the company for leaving them on the hook for coronavirus cancellations. Airbnb will pay hosts 25% of what hosts normally would have received through the site's own cancellation policies for trips with March check-in dates.
- SoftBank-backed lending startup Kabbage will furlough a "significant" number of staff and close an office in Bangalore, according to TechCrunch. The firm will continue to provide benefits to affected employees.
- Group calling app Houseparty has said it's seen no evidence of a data breach, after people on social media claimed they had been hacked. People complained on social media that their PayPal, Netflix, and Spotify accounts were hacked after they downloaded the app.
- One third of investors pulled out of UK seed deals this month amid fears the coronavirus could trigger a global recession. Seed funding has dropped 22% around the world since January, according to data from the investment-analysis firm CB Insights.
- Disney executives including former CEO Bob Iger and new CEO Bob Chapek will take pay cuts as the firm feels the economic impact of the pandemic. Iger will forgo his full salary, the company announced on Monday in a memo to employees.
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