Hashtag Trending Feb. 25 – Privacy policy hurts Meta’s business; labor organizer arrested; Twitter accidentally suspends journalist account

Files from Tom Li

Apple’s privacy policy hurts Facebook’s business, Amazon labour organizer arrested for trespassing, and Twitter accidentally suspends accounts of intelligence journalists.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Friday,  February 25, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara. 

Meta, the rebranded Facebook Inc., is concerned with Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy. The new policy sets strict rules around data collection, which impedes Meta’s business of serving interest-based ads to Instagram and Facebook users. The Wall Street Journal reported that many businesses are now allocating their marketing budget elsewhere, like Google ads. One analyst has described the policy as the toughest change Meta could ever face. Since the rebranding, Meta has lost $500 billion, partially due to tougher privacy policies by governments and other tech giants.

Labour organizer and former Amazon employee Christian Smalls have been arrested just ahead of the vote to unionize at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse. Small said he was just a visitor who was delivering food to other employees, and accused Amazon of using intimidation tactics. Smalls was fired in March 2020 after leading a protest outside of the warehouse. He and others called on Amazon to increase worker safety and health protections. An Amazon spokesperson told Reuters that Smalls has repeatedly trespassed despite multiple warnings.

Twitter has erroneously suspended accounts belonging to intelligence reporters covering Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. Several open-source reporters revealed that their accounts were inexplicably disabled while providing commentary and information on the tension at the Ukrainian border. The suspension, which occurred nearly simultaneously, led the reporters to believe that it was a coordinated bot attack by Russia. Twitter has since then dispelled the theory and confirmed that the accounts were incorrectly flagged as containing misinformation. The company said it’s reviewing the actions and restoring affected accounts.

An investigation by the BBC gave a glimpse into rampant sexual misconduct in the virtual-reality-based metaverse. The BBC researcher, who posed as a 13-year-old girl in VRchat, a virtual reality chat room app, said she was approached by numerous adult men, and was shown adult toys and condoms in the chatrooms. The investigation raises concerns around metaverse’s safety. Some are already worried that users would experience harassment more intensely due to the immersion of VR technology. 

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 briefings 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. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you 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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