Twitter CEO Donates Big to COVID-19 Research; Also Twitter- We’re Sharing More of Your Data; Amazon Getting Large ‘Virus Bump’ in Orders; Facial Recognition Co Tied to White Nationalism; US Users Don’t Understand 5G

Some billionaires have really stepped up, donating millions to coronavirus relief or research. Now, Jack Dorsey of Twitter (and Square) ups the ante, but pledging a billion dollars. Cnet.com notes that the amount is over a quarter of his net worth. Can you imagine if most other billionaires followed suit? Of course, Bill and Melinda Gates have given away billions, and Gates is personally paying for testing 7 different potential vaccines at once…which is insanely expensive…but come on, billionaires…this virus doesn’t discriminate…it could get you, too!

In not so cool Twitter news, the platform has taken away a privacy feature that let users stop sharing some private info with advertisers. It had prevented Twitter from sharing info like the has you saw or interacted with and the tracking ID for your phone! Now, that info is shared by default, and CAN’T be turned off! There is an exception by law for the EU and the UK, so if you are there, you are in luck on this.

As most people realize, online grocery buying has increased in a big way since the sheltering in place has been going on. According to geekwire.com, RBC Capital Markets has run some numbers, and believes more people will be buying this way in the future. To the surprise of no one, Amazon is getting a windfall. RBC calculates that Amazon’s online grocery arm could move $70 million in gross merchandise by 2023…that’s triple 2019’s number and would make grocery items a material part of Amazon’s total revenue. In a 1,500-person survey, run over the past two weeks, 42% of respondents buy groceries online at least once a week, up from 22% in 2018. Amazon is the most frequent destination for shoppers, with 60% using the tech giant to buy groceries online, compared to 47% for Walmart.

We have reported previously on a startup that scraped billions of images from platforms like Facebook, Google, and YouTube, then has been selling software that matches unknown faces in photos or video with those in the massive database they have amassed to law enforcement. Now, businessinsider.com says that…in addition to basically stealing all these images of you and others, Clearview AI turns out to have a have a CEO named Hoan Ton-That, an Australian, who has been connected with far-right provacateur Chuck Johnson, Pizzagate conspiracy peddler Mike Cernovich, and Pax Dickinson, who has been known to express sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, and classist views on Twitter. One of the company’s employees, a Marko Jukic, has quite a history of ethno-nationalist rhetoric that has been published online under another name. After an inquiry by businessinsider.com, he was canned by the company. Meanwhile, Ton-That has released a statement distancing himself, saying “I am not a white supremacist or an anti-semite, nor am I sympathetic to any of those views. They are abhorrent and I reject them wholly and without reservation.”

As the newly-merged T-Mobile/Sprint (which has kept the T-Mobile name) rolls out 5G, a report from Waveform indicates that most customers really don’t understand it, and that it’s unlikely to pry huge numbers of them away from their present carriers like AT&T and Verizon. According to zdnet.com, of those two, the study found that AT&T would get hit worse than Verizon…with around 28% of customers expressing interest in switching. Over at Verizon, 45.3% said they weren’t interested in moving to the new T-Mobile at all. Only 32.8% of all those surveyed said they ‘very clearly’ or ‘extremely clearly’ understand the benefits of 5G, in spite of big marketing campaigns pushing the new generation of wireless. In a word or two, when it is finally implemented most everywhere, you will be able to get faster speeds over your cell connection than most of you have been getting on your home WiFi!



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