10 things in tech you need to know today

Shona Ghosh
woman bird scooter


Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Monday.

  1. The Federal Trade Commission has approved a record-breaking $5 billion settlement against Facebook, according to multiple reports on Friday. The reported settlement comes in the wake of an investigation by the American regulator into the company's myriad privacy issues and after two years of constant scandals.
  2. President Donald Trump railed against cryptocurrencies and specifically called out Bitcoin and Libra, Facebook's new cryptocurrency that is backed by companies like Uber and Mastercard. Trump tweeted he was "not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies."
  3. Facebook developed an artificial-intelligence poker bot capable of beating world-class human professionals at the game. But the company said its researchers are not releasing the code publicly because of its potential "impact."
  4. Amazon is planning a high-end version of its Alexa speaker, and also a wheeled Alexa robot, according to Bloomberg. The wheeled robot is codenamed "Vesta", and can be summoned with a voice command.
  5. Hyped scooter startup Bird had operational losses of almost $100 million in its first quarter and saw a sharp decline in revenue to $15 million, according to The Information. The company is seeking $300 million in new funding, according to the report.
  6. Bird's CEO, Travis VanderZanden, hit back at the report in a series of critical tweets and said the $100 million loss was an accounting write-off of depreciated scooters. He also said the firm made $1.27 on every ride on its custom Bird Zero scooters.
  7. A group of Amazon's tech workers are openly supporting the planned strike by Amazon warehouse workers in Shakopee, Minnesota, during the online retailer's Prime Day shopping event. Others are publicly sharing letters and words of encourage to the strikers via Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, with multiple employees saying they are ashamed of the treatment of the fulfillment center workers.
  8. Juul's CEO said "I'm sorry" to parents whose teenagers are addicted to vaping. The FDA has said vaping among teenagers is an "epidemic", with 21% of US high schoolers vaping last year.
  9. Jack Poulson, the Google whistleblower who exposed the firm's plans to build a censored search engine in China, has set up a non-profit group to enable other tech employees to speak out. The idea is to harness the growing wave of dissatisfaction among techies in Silicon Valley.
  10. YouTube star and presenter Emily Hartridge was killed after a crash between an electric scooter and a truck in London. Multiple UK news outlets said that it was the first fatality involving electric scooters in the UK, where they are illegal to ride on public roads but their increasing popularity could lead to a law change.

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