Hillicon Valley: Amazon manager sues company | Twitter to label posts with vaccine misinformation | Gab hacked

Hillicon Valley: Amazon manager sues company | Twitter to label posts with vaccine misinformation | Gab hacked
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Amazon is facing allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment detailed in a lawsuit filed by an employee on Monday. A U.K.-based startup launched a service aimed at helping governments and organizations counter online misinformation. Meanwhile, Twitter announced updated plans to target misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, and a national commission came to some concerning conclusions about where the United States stands on artificial intelligence. 



ALLEGATIONS AGAINST AMAZON: A Black Amazon manager is suing the e-commerce giant over allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment at the company’s corporate offices.

A complaint filed by Amazon manager Charlotte Newman on Monday alleges Amazon routinely engages in “de-leveling” Black and Latino employees when they are hired, meaning they are hired at a level below the job they applied for or will be performing. 

Additionally, the complaint alleges Newman faced racial and sexual harassment by coworkers and supevisors.

“Racial and sexual discrimination exists in Amazon’s corporate corridors, not just its warehouses — it simply takes a different form. Amazon has failed to seriously grapple with these issues among its management,” the complaint states. 

An Amazon spokesperson defended the company's workplace environment and said the company is investigating the new allegations in the lawsuit. 

“Amazon works hard to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture, and these allegations do not reflect those efforts or our values. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind and thoroughly investigate all claims and take appropriate action. We are currently investigating the new allegations included in this lawsuit," the spokesperson said in a statement. 

Read more about the lawsuit here



TWITTER TARGETS COVID-19 VACCINE LIES: Twitter announced Monday that it will begin labeling posts that contain misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

The labels will alert users that health officials consider vaccines for the novel coronavirus to be safe for most people.

They may also contain links to content from trusted sources on vaccines.

Twitter is also implementing a strike system for its broader policy on coronavirus vaccine misinformation, where more than one violation will lead to accounts being locked and five or more will trigger permanent suspensions.

Read more.


GAB HACKED: Gab, a fringe social media platform with a high concentration of far-right users, has been hacked, with a large trove of data including passwords and private messages being taken.

The platform's CEO Andrew Torba acknowledged the hack, which was first reported by Wired on Sunday, in a tweet that also included a transphobic slur. 

According to the hacktivist collective Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) roughly 70 gigabytes of posts, private messages, profiles and plaintext passwords were obtained in the hack.

The group says the data was provided to them by a hacktivist who identifies as "JaXpArO and My Little Anonymous Revival Project.”

Read more.



NEW MISINFORMATION COUNTER: U.K.-based fact-checking startup Logically launched a new service Monday aimed at helping governments and nongovernmental organizations identify and counter online misinformation using a blend of artificial intelligence and human expertise.  

The Logically Intelligence (LI) platform collects data from tens of thousands of websites and social media platforms then feeds it through an algorithm to identify potentially dangerous content and organize it into narrative groups.

“Over the last few years, the phenomenon of mis- and disinformation has firmly taken root, evolved and proliferated, and is increasingly causing real world harm,” Lyric Jain, founder and CEO of Logically, said. “Our intensive focus on combating these untruths has culminated in the development of Logically Intelligence, based on several years of frontline operations fighting against the most egregious attacks on facts and reality.” 

Read more.


TROUBLE IN TECHNOLOGY PARADISE: The federal government is "unprepared" to defend the nation against new threats posed by the increased adoption of artificial intelligence technologies, according to a report released Monday.


The report, compiled by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, recommended the U.S. implement a “significant change” to keep up with countries like China and Russia in the field of AI to address national security concerns.

“The United States must act now to field AI systems and invest substantially more resources in AI innovation to protect its security, promote its prosperity, and safeguard the future of democracy,” the commission concluded.

The commission was established as part of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, with the majority of its members appointed by Congress. Commissioners who worked on the report include representatives from Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Oracle, as well as leading individuals in academia.

Read more about the report here.


INSTAGRAM LAUNCHES ‘LIVE ROOMS’: Instagram is launching a “Live Rooms” feature that will allow users to livestream with up to three people.

Instagram’s announcement on Monday builds on the platform’s existing feature that allows users to livestream with only one other person at a time. 


“This update is another step forward in giving creators more ways to reach and interact with their audiences,” Instagram said in the announcement.

Live Rooms will be available soon for users globally, the company said. 

Read more here


ICYMI: BIDEN BACKS UNION EFFORTS: President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE offered his support on Sunday to union organizing efforts as Amazon workers at an Alabama warehouse vote on whether to unionize. 

In a video posted on Twitter, the president told workers “in Alabama and all across America” that are considering joining a union that they face a “vitally important choice.”

He did not mention Amazon directly, but his video statement was released after almost 6,000 warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., started voting earlier this month on the option to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). If approved, the union would become the first at Amazon’s U.S. operations. 

Read more here

Lighter click: We’ll get around to it eventually 

An op-ed to chew on: To outpace China on technology, the US needs a 'full-stack' strategy


T-Mobile Promised Its Megamerger Would Create Jobs. It Laid Off 5,000 Workers Instead (Motherboard / Karl Bode) 

Klobuchar calls on Congress to get serious on tech reform (The Verge / Makena Kelly)

How One State Managed to Actually Write Rules on Facial Recognition (The New York Times / Kashmir Hill)