Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hashtag Trending June 22 – Tesla faces new lawsuit; Frances Haugen trains lawyers to fight Big Tech; Twitter board recommends Elon Musk takeover bid

Tesla faces a new lawsuit after allegedly firing workers with no notice, Facebook’s whistleblower is starting a nonprofit to train lawyers to fight Big Tech, and Twitter Board recommends shareholders approve the $44 Billion sale to Elon Musk.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, June 22, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

A new lawsuit seeking class-action status claims that Tesla broke federal law by firing thousands of workers with no notice and denying them two months’ pay. The legal action is the latest in a series of allegations against the company. Former Tesla employees John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield allege they were among thousands of Tesla workers fired amid company-wide cuts. Chief executive officer Elon Musk, earlier this month, emailed executives saying he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and that Tesla would cut 10 per cent of salaried workers, according to a Reuters report. The workers allege the company failed to adhere to federal laws on mass layoffs which require a 60-day notification period under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, according to the lawsuit. The workers are seeking class action status for all former Tesla employees throughout the United States who were laid off in the months of May or June without advance notice. According to the complaint, Tesla had abruptly notified the employees that their terminations would be effective immediately. 

Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who exposed Facebook and testified in front of lawmakers about the social network’s illegal data activities, is raising $5 million to kick off a nonprofit organization focused on training lawyers to fight Big Tech companies. Haugen’s organization, ‘Beyond the Screen’, will also focus on incentivizing investors to look into how socially responsible a tech company is before investing in it and giving regulators and researchers an inside look into how platforms work. Haugen has spent several months testifying to authorities, and has secured some early-stage funding from donors. The former Facebook employee is looking to build a simulated social network, an artificial platform in which regulators, researchers and others can war-game potential scenarios, according to Business Insider.

Twitter’s board of directors have unanimously recommended that shareholders approve the $44 billion sale of the company to Elon Musk, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. In a letter to investors included in the SEC filing, the board said it was “determined that the merger agreement is advisable and the merger and the other transactions contemplated by the merger agreement are fair to, advisable and in the best interests of Twitter and its stockholders.” The letter did not specify when the vote will take place, but reports from Bloomberg and CNET revealed it may happen in July or early August. The company’s share price is significantly down from the $54.20 per share that Musk originally offered, but the Tesla and SpaceX CEO continued to signal his intent to go forward with the deal in a meeting with Twitter employees last week. 

NASA is starting to shut down its acclaimed Voyager probes, as the agency starts switching off their systems, Scientific American reported. The probes launched in 1977, 45 years ago, and have pushed the boundaries of space exploration ever since. They are further away from Earth than any other man made object. The decision to reduce power on the probes is supposed to extend their lifespan a few more years, taking them to around 2030. The probes are powered by radioactive plutonium, which has allowed the onboard computers to run for decades. The energy in the system is decreasing by about four watts per year, requiring energy use to be cut. The probes’ primary purpose was to fly by Jupiter and Saturn. In 1990, 13 years after its launch, Voyager 1 took the iconic “pale blue dot” composite picture, a view of Earth taken 3.7 billion miles away from our sun.

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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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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 sbalsara@itwc.ca

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