New Instagram Tools to Battle Fake News; Congress Considers EV Tax Credit Revamp; Samsung-No Million Galaxy Folds Sold; Another Google Employee Canned for Labor ActivismPosted: December 17, 2019
Instagram is starting to roll out new tools to fight fake news and hate speech worldwide. According to 9to5mac.com, the Facebook owned subsidiary will get similar tools to the parent’s set for addressing fake news and hate posts. When a photo or video reported as fake news appears on the feed, Instagram will show a warning above it. Users can still choose to view the content regardless of the warnings.
It will also be possible to see the comments of the fact-checking agencies about that post, and the app will ask if the user really wants to share the post anyway. The company says it uses artificial intelligence technology so that any content already reported as misinformation will be recognized even when it is reposted by another account.
It’s only in the draft state, but the House is looking to update the tax credit for electric vehicles. Electrek.co reports that the present rules were set up so that when a car maker sells 200,000 EVs, the credit phases out of the next 4 quarters. Tesla hit that wall in Q3 of 2018, and GM did in Q4 the same year. This means Tesla buyers lose the credit the end of this month, and GM buyers after March 30th, 2020. The new bill raises the cap per manufacturer to 600,000 EVs. On the down side, the tax credit drops from $7500 to $7000. Importantly, it includes a federal tax credit of up to $2500 on USED EVs…although there are quite a few caveats for those. Also in the bill, a 10% investment tax credit (ITC) for manufacturers of heavy EVs…14,000 pound gross weight or more. This would cover big rigs, motor homes, etc. Getting the bill through the Senate if it passes the House (even with bipartisan support) will be a tough hill to climb, but if it does, it could be a game changer for EVs.
After reports that Samsun had sold a million Galaxy Folds, the company has denied that they have moved that many units. Zdnet.com says someone misquoted an earlier estimate. The company still hopes to sell 500,000 of the $2000 folding smartphones by year’s end, but won’t confirm a hard number of units sold right now. Samsung is working on two more folders….a cheaper clamshell type phone, and an updated Galaxy Fold that will have a bigger 8 inch screen and S-Pen support.
Google has canned yet another employee for labor activism. theverge.com reports that Kathryn Spiers, who worked as a security engineer, was offed after 2 years. Part of her duties included sending internal web browser notifications. Apparently, after news broke that Google was using an anti-union law firm, and the web giant fired 4 other employees for internal union activism, Spiers set up a new notification for employees. When Googlers visited the law firm’s website or Google’s internal worker guidelines, they were sent a new message through a browser pop-up: “Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities.” The message included a link to a labor rights notice Google was mandated to post. The employee was put on administrative leave only hours after releasing the message, and fired last Friday. The company spokesperson said the content of the message wasn’t at issue and that management would have taken similar action if the tool had been used to send any message not related to security. “We dismissed an employee who abused privileged access to modify an internal security tool,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “This was a serious violation.”