Facebook Will Release Some Research on Tweens & Instagram; Amazon Web Services Starts $40 Million Initiative on Health Inequities; Ford to Build EV Truck Plant & 3 Battery Factories; FCC Dropping $1.9 to Eliminate Huawei & ZTE Gear in US

Ten days after the Wall Street Journal put out an investigative piece on how Instagram affects teens who use it, Facebook has not only paused development on its ’tweens’ version of the platform. Now, in addition, the online giant will release a couple of internal slide decks detailing its research into how Instagram affects teens’ mental health. Engadget.com reports the decks should be made public in the next few days. Despite this, and the ‘pause’ in the children’s version of Instagram, an number of Members of Congress are still calling for Facebook to kill the program entirely. Last month, the company released a report on “widely viewed content” on its platform. The report was meant to rebuff criticism that News Feed favors polarizing content. But researchers outside the company quickly poked holes in the report, and said it was emblematic of Facebook’s larger transparency issues, particularly when it comes to working with outside researchers.

Amazon Web Services is launching an initiative to the tune of $40 million (in credits and tech support) over the next 3 years to help organizations working to enhance health and reduce inequities in care. According to geekwire.com, Amazon’s  VP of worldwide public sector at AWS Max Peterson released a statement regarding the funding. “Applying modern technology to health systems is not a silver bullet to ending health inequity,” said Max Peterson, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS, in a statement. “But it can speed health research and innovation, level the playing field for accessing care, help deliver trusted information to people when and where they need it, streamline supply chains, and more.” This program will not replace, but will run in parallel to the one Amazon started last year to support COVID-19 diagnostics research and development. 

Ford has announced 4 plants in the march towards electric vehicles, indicating that they plan to ‘go big or go home.’ The New York Times says Ford will build two battery plants in Kentucky and another in Tennessee, plus a Ford electric truck plant in Tennessee. The total cost is $11.4 billion…of which $4.4 billion will be kicked in from battery partner SK Innovation, with Ford putting up the other $7 billion. The plants will employ an additional 11,000 workers. The vehicle facility will have at least some union jobs. Top pay for a UAW worker at a Ford plant right now is $32 an hour. “I think the industry is on a fast road to electrification,” Ford’s executive chairman, William C. Ford Jr., said in an interview. “And those who aren’t are going to be left behind.”

The FCC has released rules for small carriers to tap into a $1.9 billion fund to replace network equipment from Huawei and ZTE. Zdnet.com reports that the carriers will need to have less than 10 million customers. New equipment installed will have to have speeds of over 200 kbps for both upload and downloads. The ‘Federal Cookie Co.’ will allow replacement with LTE or 5G in place of older gear that is becoming obsolete. 


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