We know you are looking forward to the weekend for the rest, fun and game times, and family moments that it brings. But, before you run along, we think it is best to share with you the important tech news across the globe that you may have missed this week.
In this episode of the global tech roundup. we begin from the interesting victories of employees against tech giants. Over 650 workers at Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) are demanding abortion benefits for contractor staff members. While in Tanzania, Bolt is restricting its operations due to regulations from the country’s authorities.
So, if you have missed out on the news stream this week, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here is a roundup of major Global Tech news from across the world:
Musk finally wins
After a final round of court cases, Elon Musk’s struggles with Twitter may finally be turning out in his favour, as he will receive some of the extra information he has demanded from Twitter. And, he is trying for even more.
Elon Musk’s lawyers notched a partial win this week in their Delaware Court of Chancery standoff against Twitter with a motion requesting information from 22 Twitter employees, or “custodians,” in addition to 41 others that both sides already agreed on for sharing data.
Judge Kathaleen McCormick ruled on the issue Monday afternoon, deciding that Twitter has to “collect, review, and produce documents” from just one of the people listed: Kayvon Beykpour, the former head of consumer product at Twitter.
With the October 17th trial date for Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk for trying to break up their $44 billion deal drawing closer — and Musk selling billions of dollars worth of his stock in Tesla — his lawyers are trying to find something to shore up their arguments that Twitter committed fraud, while Twitter’s legal team issues subpoenas to help out the case on their side, according to The Verge.
According to an Insider report, anonymous sources indicate that Musk’s lawyers were pursuing information from Twitter employees who ranged from mid-level execs to lower-level employees, and noted that his legal team filed another motion to compel pursuing info on Twitter’s user data, as well as the methods used to collect and analyze it.
In the meantime, Twitter is now “required to collect, review, and produce documents” from Kayvon Beykpour, the platform’s former general manager for consumers, the judge’s short order said.
Beykpour joined Twitter in 2018 under then-CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey’s replacement, Parag Agrawal, fired Beykpour in May, along with a few other executives. Beykpour tweeted that it was not his decision to leave the company.
Bolt bolts off, gradually, in Tanzania
Ride-hailing company, Bolt, has announced that it will only serve corporate customers in Tanzania from Wednesday this week after almost witnessing a crushing fate to its operations in Tanzania due to regulations from the country’s authorities.
All retail cash users will not have access to the service.
As part of the ride-hailing company’s operational changes to comply with the regulatory environment and order by Tanzania’s Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) earlier in March this year which raised fares and reduced commissions for ride-hailing companies. It also stated that there was hardly a future for the company in Tanzania, should LATRA maintain its order.
According to TechCrunch, prior to the decision, Bolt had continued to provide services while working with LATRA to resolve the issue. However, it says the regulatory environment puts “undue pressure on the sustainability of its operations in the country.”
Four months since that order, LATRA is unrelenting in its stance and Bolt is not having it anymore. The Estonian ride-hailing company has maintained that a 15% commission is not sustainable for its operations in the country, as against the 20% it was formerly operating with. In a statement shared with TechTrends, the company said:
“Bolt has no choice but to mitigate against the losses in the market until it sees a considerable improvement in the regulatory ecosystem.”
To remain in the East African country, Bolt has now adjusted its business model, restricting its business activities to corporate clients only.
Google contract employees push abortion petition
Over 650 workers at Google owner Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) are demanding it offers abortion benefits to contractors, suspends donations to anti-abortion politicians and better protects users from abortion-related disinformation and police requests.
The demands were sent this week in a petition to executives seen by Reuters. They reflect concerns across the United States since a Supreme Court ruling in June prompted or raised the possibility of new restrictions on abortion and reproductive care in over half of the 50 states.
Google has so far not commented on the reported petition, which has so far generated over 600 signatures. Over 174,000 individuals are employed by Alphabet globally, and while it does set some rules, it does not have complete control over the practices of outside vendors.
In addition, the petition says Alphabet should not direct political contributions toward groups and candidates campaigning to restrict abortion access. The workers also echoed demands from abortion advocates who for years have said that Google should remove search results for crisis pregnancy centres, which attempt to dissuade people from abortion.
Airbnb rolls our ‘anti-party’ technology
If you are looking at hosting or manoeuvring your way around hosting a party in one of the Airbnb outlets in Canada and the United States in the future, you might have to cancel such plans.
Weeks after Airbnb said it would permanently ban parties at properties rented through its platform, the company is deploying so-called “anti-party technology” in the United States and Canada to help enforce the measure, CNN reports.
The new system analyzes a variety of factors, according to a company announcement Tuesday, including previous reviews, how long a user has been on the platform, the length of the stay and whether the rental is occurring on a weekend or weekday.
The goal, Airbnb said, is to “help identify potentially high-risk reservations” and prevent those users from completing a booking. Those who are unable to book homes as a result of the anti-party tech will have the option to reserve a hotel room or a private room (rather than an entire property where a host is less likely to be present) through the platform, Airbnb said.
Airbnb made its ban on all parties and events permanent in June, about two years after announcing a temporary prohibition. Initially, the company said the ban was to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 through social distancing efforts, as well as a response to the pandemic bar and club closures pushing many Airbnb users to party in rented homes.
Eventually, the company said, the move “developed into a bedrock community policy.”
Airbnb has been testing similar technology to address the issue in Australia since 2021, with a 35% decline in unauthorized parties following the rollout, according to the company. Airbnb said the pilot in Australia was so effective that it is now becoming permanent in the country and the company is “hoping for similar success” in North America.