Hashtag Trending Dec. 23- Social media distrust; engineers love blockchain; No vaccine, no pay at Intel

Files from Tom Li

Social media users don’t trust the platforms they use, silicon valley engineers are fervently pursuing blockchain opportunities, and Intel will be placing unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave next year.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, December 23, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

In a revelation that surprises absolutely no one, a Washington Post survey revealed that while most Americans use social media, they don’t trust them with their information. According to the poll, 65 per cent of the respondents urged the government to take action against big tech. They reported that they believe they don’t have enough control over tracking and how their data is used. The sentiment echoed across all major platforms. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and WhatsApp users are especially wary of their data privacy. Facebook topped the district ranking, with 72 per cent of its users reporting that they don’t trust the platform. Interestingly, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon received favourable results. A majority of respondents said they trust these platforms.

Blockchain startups are becoming extremely popular. So much so that top tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple are having trouble retaining their talent despite lucrative salaries. According to New York Times, engineers in silicon valley are leaving big tech in doves in pursuit of entrepreneur opportunities in blockchain. It was such a problem at Google that it has become a part of the executive agenda, reviewed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai every Monday. Part of the issue is that Google has been cautious in taking up crypto. In response, Google has even upped incentives, including distributing stock grants to employees.

Intel is putting unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave. According to an internal memo, the company will be putting workers without an exception on unpaid leave starting April next year. It gave its employees until January 4th to either get the vaccine or seek an exemption, citing a government mandate. Although a federal court blocked the contractor vaccine mandate earlier this month, Intel said it will be leaving its policy in place. Review for employee’s exemption requests will run until March 15.

Now for something a little different. Before Microsoft chose “Cortana” as the name for its voice assistant, it ran though a whole bunch of candidates. Other potential names included Alyx and Bingo. Ultimately, choosing Cortana just made good sense as it references a sentient AI from the Halo videogame franchise, a key exclusive for Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console. Unfortunately, Cortana’s popularity is being overshadowed by more popular options such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. As such, it’s no longer a default install on Windows 11, and the mobile app was discontinued in March.

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. 

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at [email protected]

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