Hillicon Valley — Amazon loses objection to N.Y. union

·5 min read

Amazon workers looking to unionize got another win, with the National Labor Relations Board recommending that Amazon’s objections to votes by a union in New York be rejected.

Meanwhile, Google allowed Parler back into the Play store a year and a half after it was removed for a lack of content moderation.

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Labor board rules in favor of Amazon union

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Thursday recommended that tech giant Amazon’s objections to votes by the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) be blocked.

“I conclude that the Employer’s objections be overruled in their entirety,” wrote the NLRB hearing officer, according to documents posted by ALU President Christian Smalls.

The report continues: “The Employer has not met its burden of establishing that Region 29, the Petitioner, or any third parties have engaged in objectionable conduct affecting the results of the election.”

  • Region 29 of the NLRB initially held the election to decide whether the ALU would officially represent fulfillment center employees working at Amazon’s JFK8 building. The company’s dispute was transferred to Region 28 of the board after Amazon claimed that Region 29 displayed questionable conduct in the election. 

  • The election, which took place in March, found that employees voted to be represented by the ALU by a margin of 10.8 points.

Read more here.

Parler returns to Google app store

The social media platform Parler is available again for users to download from the Google Play store a year and a half after the app was removed, the company said Friday.

Parler, which boasts its limited content moderation measures, was banned from the app store since January 2021 over a lack of moderation on posts that were deemed to incite violence around the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

“While away from Google Play, we have worked diligently to build a more feature-rich and dynamic user experience. Now is a perfect time to join Parler and rediscover the non-partisan platform where we enable people to speak freely,” Parler’s chief technology officer Sam Lipoff said in a tweeted statement.

Google’s decision to allow Parler back into its store comes after the app reportedly made changes that allow users to block and report others and to actively monitor content for issues like violent speech, Axios reported.

“As we’ve long stated, apps are able to appear on Google Play provided they comply with Play’s developer policies,” a Google spokesperson told Axios.

Read more here.

(MORE) ALGORITHM CONCERNS AHEAD OF MIDTERMS

Tailoring algorithms to user interests is a common practice among social media companies. But new research underscores the harms this practice can yield, especially when it comes to public perception of election legitimacy.

study conducted by researchers at New York University found YouTube was more likely to direct videos on election-fraud to those skeptical of 2020 election results compared with those less skeptical. Researchers say this practice may perpetuate existing misconceptions.

Those who were most skeptical of the presidential election outcome were shown up to three times as many videos on election-fraud in their feeds, compared with those least skeptical of the outcomes. This accounted for about eight additional recommendations out of 400 in total.

“Narratives of fraud and conspiracy theories proliferated over the fall of 2020, finding fertile ground across online social networks, although little is known about the extent and drivers of this spread,” authors wrote.

The 2022 approach: With campaigning for the 2022 midterm elections in full swing, many social media companies are working to mitigate the spread of misinformation that plagued previous election cycles.

YouTube recently announced new policies aimed at addressing election-related misinformation that will add context to any midterm-related videos in both Spanish and English.

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Technology alone can’t solve the cybersecurity problem; we need better information sharing

Notable links from around the web:

He used AI to win a fine-arts competition. Was it cheating? (The Washington Post / Drew Harwell)

Gig Workers Tire of Waiting for Action From Biden’s White House (The New York Times / Kellen Browning and Michael D. Shear)

It’s the end of the car as we know it (Vox / Rebecca Heilweil)

🐟 Lighter click: Cod this joke be any punnier?

One more thing: A big year for OnlyFans

The owner of the social media site OnlyFans, which is known for featuring adult content, has been paid more than $500 million in dividends from the company since the end of 2020.

Owner Leonid Radvinsky received $517 million in dividends over 2021 and 2022, according to an annual report released Thursday and acquired by Bloomberg.

The overall profits of OnlyFans, owned by holding company Fenix International Inc., multiplied by a factor of seven during the most recent year on record, which ended Nov. 30, due to a massive increase in users during the pandemic.

Radvinsky profited by $284 million over that time period in addition to the $233 million he has acquired in 2022 through the subscription service.

OnlyFans takes a 20 percent cut of the profits made by the more than 1.5 million individuals hosted on the site, who have made more than $3 billion since the advent of the company, according to the report.

Read more here.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.

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