Hashtag Trending – PepsiCo goes automatic; Anti-vax views on Amazon Prime Video; YouTube kids videos cause concern;

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PepsiCo goes through major restructuring as it invests in automation, anti-vaxxing content pushed by Amazon’s recommendation algorithms, and YouTube exposes children to some dark animations.

PepsiCo has kicked off a round of layoffs affecting employees in multiple offices, and is citing a “relentless” investment in automation as to the reason why. Business Insider reports that the company’s layoffs are expected to be a multimillion dollar project in 2019, and becoming leaner is one of the top priorities. In a recent interview with CNBC, chief financial officer Hugh Johnston suggested the company planned to lay off workers in positions that can be automated. In a separate interview, CEO Ramon Laguarta said PepsiCo is “relentlessly automating and merging the best of our optimized business models with the best new thinking and technologies.” Some Reddit users claiming to have worked for PepsiCo have also flocked to the platform to discuss their experience working at the organization.

Chances are if you type “vaccine” into a search bar today, you’ll be pointed to a bevy of anti-vaccine groups and stories that promote the idea of children avoiding vaccinations. YouTube and Facebook have been two of the biggest platforms receiving pushback lately, due to the number of “related” pages or videos that direct users to such a backwards ideas. But now, Reddit users are pointing to Amazon Prime Video as the latest platform directing people to documentaries such as “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” directed by Andrew Wakefield, a former doctor whose widely-debunked paper linking vaccinations to autism. The documentary is just one of many that Amazon’s video platform is directing people to through its “customers also watched” bar, resulting in a lot of push back from parents and healthcare professionals who suggest in a recent Wired article that  the faulty algorithm is the latest tool contributing to the erosion of public trust in science and medicine.

And lastly, a pediatrician’s story about a recent, and disturbing, discovery on the YouTube Kids app has turned heads on social media. Dr. Free Hess and her latest discovery of animations and short video clips depicting suicides and school shootings, reported on by BuzzFeed.News, has once again called into question the algorithms YouTube uses to reccomened new content. YouTube says it’s taking the feedback seriously and working to stomp out the disturbing content, admitting “there’s more work to do.” Yes there is YouTube, yes there is.

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.

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Alex Coop
Alex Coophttp://www.itwc.ca
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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