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Tragedy in an Amazon Warehouse is causing an uproar, Better.com CEO is taking time off after viral mass layoff, and Elon Musk has been named Time Person of the Year.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday, December 14, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.
Following a deadly collapse of an Amazon warehouse last Friday, employees are raising concerns about the company’s no-mobile phone policy in the workplace. The Illinois warehouse, which was located just outside St. Louis, was turned to rubble following a string of tornados that ripped through multiple states in the Midwest. The concerns from Amazon employees about the mobile phone ban comes from the lack of communication to employees in the building regarding the extreme weather conditions. Amazon had banned employee mobile phones on warehouse floors, and after a brief relaxation of the rules during the early stages of the pandemic, the tech giant is slowly reintroducing the practice. According to Bloomberg, employees would also like to be able to keep their phones in order to contact emergency responders, as well as loved ones, should an emergency occur. Some employees have allegedly threatened to resign if Amazon refuses to reverse course on the mobile phone ban.
According to an article from Vice, Better.com’s CEO Vishal Garg has announced he will be “taking time off” after a video of him laying off hundreds of workers went viral. The mortgage company has also reportedly hired an outside firm to “do a leadership and cultural assessment.” The news was distributed by the board of directors via email earlier this week. Better.com’s CEO was the centre of public scrutiny earlier this month due to some of his comments from the digital town hall during which he laid off 900 employees. Among the comments that particularly stung was one in which he alleged without proof that “at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking in 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system.”
Finally, Elon Musk has been named the Time Person of the Year. Among those beaten out for the award include “COVID-19 vaccine scientists”, who were named heroes of the year. Musk, best known for his endeavours in electric vehicles and space exploration among a host of other ventures, was awarded the title following a year that saw him become the richest person in the world. Time Magazine’s editor-in-chief declared Musk’s win given his effort in “creating solutions to an existential crisis, for embodying the possibilities and the perils of the age of tech titans, for driving society’s most daring and disruptive transformations.” Musk has undoubtedly dominated headlines this year for a variety of reasons, from SNL appearances to meme stocks, and it seems that Time Magazine declaring him Person of the Year is nothing if not a fitting way to conclude that 2021 was Musk’s year.
And now for something a little bit different. With the holiday season inching closer by the day, an article from Tech Recently has the answer to a holiday question you didn’t even know you had. Given the amount of Christmas shopping being done through Amazon, many Amazon Echo users may need to keep their gift a surprise for their loved ones. While Echo’s handy feature, which shows when you have a package at your door is useful most of the time, there is a way to turn the feature off to ensure that your surprise isn’t ruined. To turn off Alexa package notifications, simply enter the Alexa app on your device, tap on More in the bottom right hand corner, Settings, then Notifications, then Amazon Shopping. Finally, under “Say or Show Item Titles” toggle off “including items in your shopping cart marked as gifts, or those that might be gifts during major holidays.” By doing so, you’ll continue to be notified when a package arrives, however, items tagged as a gift will not be revealed.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.