Hashtag Trending Oct. 20 – Google announces Pixel; Facebook settles with the DOJ; Amazon takes heat on competition practices

With files from Pragya Sehgal

Google announces Pixel 6 devices, Facebook settles U.S. worker discrimination claims, and Amazon could be trouble with U.S. lawmakers

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It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Wednesday, October 20, and I’m your host, Jori Negin-Shecter.

Google has announced it’s new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro devices. The phones are powered by Google’s first-ever custom-built processor, Google Tensor, and will ship with Android 12. Google has also completely redesigned the Pixel’s appearance to give the phone a new and more cohesive look. The first thing users will notice is the Camera Bar, which gives the phone a symmetrical design that puts the camera front-and-centre. The device will start at CA$799, however, for those looking for advanced capabilities and upgraded finishes, the flagship Pixel 6 Pro appears to be the choice, starting at CA$1179. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Labor announced separate settlement agreements with Facebook yesterday regarding its use of the permanent labor certification program (PERM). Under the DOJ settlement, Facebook will pay a civil penalty of $4.75 million to the U.S., pay up to $9.5 million to eligible victims of Facebook’s alleged discrimination, and train its employees on the anti-discrimination requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This civil penalty and backpay fund represent the largest fine and monetary award that the Division has ever recovered in the 35-year history of the INA’s anti-discrimination provision.   

Finally, Amazon seems to be in some big trouble with U.S. lawmakers. The e-commerce giant will have less than two weeks to correct its executives’ previous testimony on its competition practices. Lawmakers reportedly sent a letter Monday to Amazon president and CEO Andy Jassy saying they were giving the company until Nov. 1 to “correct the record” and provide new documents and evidence. Amazon is accused of misleading Congress and possibly outright lying, citing recent media reports detailing Amazon’s alleged practice of undercutting businesses that sell on its platform by making “knock-offs,” and boosting their presence on the site. The letter says the antitrust subcommittee, which has investigated the market dominance of big tech, is considering referring the case to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. 

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 Jori Negin-Shecter.

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