Intel's CEO says bitcoin is a 'climate crisis' the company can help address – Protocol

Pat Gelsinger said the company’s new chip will help address the environmental toll of crypto mining.
Pat Gelsinger called bitcoin a climate issue.
Add Intel’s CEO to the list of people who think bitcoin is an environmental disaster. Pat Gelsinger said bitcoin is a “climate crisis” that the company can help address with its newly introduced crypto mining chip during a recent interview with Bloomberg.
“A single ledger in bitcoin consumes enough energy to power your house for almost a day,” Gelsinger said. “That’s a climate crisis. … If we produce the tech that consumes that much energy, wow, that’s not OK.”
Bitcoin energy consumption has soared over the past few years, and with it, the cryptocurrency’s carbon footprint. A single bitcoin transaction has a carbon footprint equivalent to watching more than 170,000 hours of YouTube, and its electricity consumption is comparable to what it would take to keep a U.S. household running for about 76 days, according to Digiconomist. In aggregate, the numbers are even worse; annual mining operations consume as much electricity as Thailand and emit as much carbon pollution as Kuwait.

Intel is currently building an “energy-efficient” chip that aims to address the environmental impact of crypto mining, which Gelsinger said will be “dramatically better” in terms of power performance. “We want to work with the industry to find ways that technologies like blockchain can be properly regulated, managed as well so that they truly can be fully realized,” Gelsinger said.
Digiconomist also found that mining results in nearly 34,000 tons of e-waste each year, though, care of the copious amounts of hardware needed to mine bitcoin at scale. A study co-authored last year by Digiconomist founder Alex de Vries showed the e-waste problem could double if bitcoin price remain high. Whether Intel’s chip will be more robust than what’s currently in use by most miners — or if it will even be widely adopted — remains to be seen.
On top of its detrimental impact on the climate, Gelsinger said bitcoin isn’t a good technology because it can’t currently be used broadly by nations and people as a currency. “That doesn’t mean it’s not good tech, but we’re not using it good yet,” he said.
Coming soon: How tech is tackling climate change — and reckoning with its own impact on the planet.

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Sarah Roach is a reporter and producer at Protocol (@sarahroach_) where she contributes to Source Code, Protocol’s daily newsletter. She is a recent graduate of George Washington University, where she studied journalism and mass communication and criminal justice. She previously worked for two years as editor in chief of her school’s independent newspaper, The GW Hatchet.
In the vast web of misinformation on social media, YouTube videos often sit at the center. Videos that may have started on YouTube, or even been suppressed by YouTube’s moderators, have a way of creeping across the internet where they can find a life of their own on other social platforms.
Now, YouTube is working on ways to change that.
Neal Mohan, the platform’s chief product officer, wrote in a blog post Thursday that YouTube is working to take on misinformation by stemming its reach, which could include limiting cross-platform sharing and expanding the keywords it uses to suppress misinformation content.
Part of the goal is to catch new narratives as they’re bubbling up, before they go viral. Though some conspiracies have long been topics of conversation among users — take moon landing conspiracy theories and flat earthers, for example — new types of misinformation can often arise and spread quickly before trusted sources have a chance to debunk it.

“Increasingly, a completely new narrative can quickly crop up and gain views,” Mohan said. “Or, narratives can slide from one topic to another—for example, some general wellness content can lead to vaccine hesitancy.”
One potential change is using keywords in more languages to catch and flag misinformation in other regions, as well as working with regional analysts to catch local misinformation theories that YouTube may have missed. The company is also considering partnerships with non-governmental organizations to better understand regional and local misinformation.
But the biggest change is the possibility — still under consideration — that YouTube might disable the share button on misinformation videos. The company is also considering breaking links to videos that have already been suppressed on YouTube, but may have been shared on other platforms. “We grapple with whether preventing shares may go too far in restricting a viewer’s freedoms,” Mohan said. “Our systems reduce borderline content in recommendations, but sharing a link is an active choice a person can make, distinct from a more passive action like watching a recommended video.”
Another potential solution Mohan proposed: embedding interstitials, which act “like a speed bump” to let users know that the video may contain misinformation.
For major breaking news events, such as natural disasters, the company is exploring new disclaimer labels for videos or search results “warning viewers there’s a lack of high quality information,” Mohan said.
But there are tradeoffs to consider. “We also have to weigh whether surfacing a label could unintentionally put a spotlight on a topic that might not otherwise gain traction,” he said.
Google announced on Thursday that it will launch a $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund in an effort to increase the wages of American workers. The fund, which was announced via video in tandem with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, is anticipated to reach 20,000 people via Google Career Certificates.
Unlike Amazon’s free college program for employees, Google’s program is aimed at job seekers. This certification program provides online professional training in subjects spanning from IT support to data analytics on Coursera with the goal of getting more people into high-growth industries and positions. Financial nonprofit Social Finance will be in charge of distributing the funds from Google to other organizations like Merit America and Year Up.
The program is designed for students to pay zero upfront costs for the three to six-month courses, but Google certificate students are expected to repay program costs if they land a job that pays at least $40,000 annually. While the exact amount of the monthly payments was not shared in the announcement, Google said it will be low no-interest payments for Social Finance to reinvest in the program for additional participants.

Google’s initiative relates to President Biden’s larger push for access to education and higher-paying jobs. “The Biden administration is laser-focused on creating good-paying jobs for American workers, and it is especially important for us to come up with creative solutions that enable women and parents to fully participate in our economy,” said Raimondo.
Spotify’s massive contract for Joe Rogan is reportedly worth upwards of $200 million, double what the deal was previously thought to be worth, the New York Times reported Thursday. Rogan’s contract covers 3.5 years of exclusivity on his podcasts for the streaming giant.
The Times story tracks Spotify’s quest to become a podcast behemoth, which has included the acquisition of several major podcasting companies, and has only been aided by “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which the company said has been its biggest podcast in more than 90 countries. But the show has been riddled with problematic themes and accused of spreading misinformation, including on the COVID-19 vaccine.
Spotify came under fire in recent weeks for not moderating Rogan’s podcast. Major artists Neil Young and Joni Mitchell left the audio service in protest while #DeleteSpotify trended on social media platforms, but CEO Daniel Ek said in a blog post that the company isn’t interested in being a “content censor.”

Tesla’s EVs have been beaten out — at least in the eyes of Consumer Reports.
The publication ranked Ford’s Mustang Mach-E as a “Top Pick” for electric vehicles for 2022, pushing the Tesla Model 3 off the list for the first time in two years.
That’s not the only place Tesla has seen its star fall on the consumer watchdog’s rankings. In Consumer Reports’ overall ranking of 32 auto brands, Tesla fell seven spots to 23rd place, the worst it’s received since joining the “Top Picks” list seven years ago. The ranking factors in road-test performance, reliability, owner satisfaction and safety. Tesla shares fell nearly 5% in mid-morning trading following the announcement.
The Mach-E has had very few problems so far, Consumer Reports writer Jeff Bartlett reported, giving it an “edge when it comes to reliability.” Meanwhile, several Tesla models have been subject to recall after recall in recent months. The designation is a win for Ford, whose CEO Jim Farley has been vying to upend Tesla’s dominance over the EV market. That includes the Mach-E as well as upping production of the F-150 Lightning, its all-electric truck.

“The F-150 Lightning, if we had full production today to meet our current demand, we would rival the [Tesla] Model Y as the leading [battery electric vehicle] nameplate in the U.S. market,” Farley said in the company’s February earnings call.
Tesla has butted heads with Consumer Reports more than once. Last year, some Tesla vehicles lost their “Top Pick” status due to lacking key safety features. They returned to the list, though, after further testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Tesla also lost and regained “Top Pick” status in 2018 for the Model 3 due to issues with inconsistent braking distance that were fixed in a software update. Consumer Reports has also given the EV-maker low or average reliability rankings more than once.
EVs have become a hot ticket for automakers recently, most notably in a bevy of Super Bowl ads this year. With companies from Ford to GM pouring billions into upping their EV game and the Biden administration’s recently announced charging network plan backed by $5 billion, it’s clear Tesla is about to face even more competition on streets and highways.
The Justice Department has named a veteran prosecutor to lead the newly-formed team set up to take on crypto-related crimes.
Eun Young Choi will serve as the first director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, the DOJ announced Thursday.
Choi recently served as senior counsel to the deputy attorney general. She also worked nine years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York as an assistant U.S. attorney and cybercrime coordinator, according to her LinkedIn profile.
The Justice Department announced in October that it was creating the NCET to focus on “combating misuse of cryptocurrency” marketplaces and other systems which have been used by criminals to “launder or hide their criminal proceeds.”
Sequoia Capital has launched a new investment fund focused on crypto tokens, according to a report.
The venture capital giant is allocating $500 million for a new strategy geared toward acquiring and earning returns from cryptocurrencies, Axios reported Thursday.
“This fund will let us manage these tokens differently, from staking to voting rights and having a say on governance,” Sequoia partner Alfred Lin told Axios. About 20% of the VC firm’s investments over the past year were for crypto startups, Lin said.
The crypto fund appears to be in line with Sequoia’s new strategy. The creation of the Sequoia Capital Fund and the firm’s move to register as an investment adviser both allow it to hold investments beyond the traditional 10-year VC timeline and invest in nontraditional asset classes like crypto.
Andreessen Horowitz, one of Sequoia’s fiercest competitors in venture capital, has led the charge into crypto. New investment firms focused on crypto like Paradigm and KRH Partners have also emerged.

Elon Musk’s attorney accused the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday of taking advantage of a court agreement “to try to muzzle and harass Mr. Musk and Tesla,” while failing to pay out the $40 million the SEC collected in fines.
Musk and Tesla signed an agreement with the SEC in 2018 over fraud charges after Musk tweeted he could take Tesla private without first filing appropriate regulatory notices to the SEC about the announcement. Tesla and Musk agreed to put in place controls to review Musk’s tweets and pay $40 million in fines, which the SEC would distribute to shareholders.
The filing in New York accuses the SEC of taking advantage of that agreement by opening investigations and issuing subpoenas into Musk’s further communications on Twitter without the permission of the court involved in the settlement. The filing also alleges that the SEC has failed to distribute the $40 million it collected in a timely and appropriate manner, violating the agreement.

Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, also accused the SEC of trying to violate Musk’s First Amendment rights. “The SEC seems to be targeting Mr. Musk and Tesla for unrelenting investigation largely because Mr. Musk remains an outspoken critic of the government; the SEC’s outsized efforts seem calculated to chill his exercise of First Amendment rights rather than to enforce generally applicable laws in evenhanded fashion,” Spiro wrote.
Mark Zuckerberg never wanted much to do with Washington.

It’s easy to forget it’s been less than four years since he was all but dragged kicking and screaming to his first Congressional hearing on the Cambridge Analytica scandal, after first insisting he wasn’t the right guy for the job.
And maybe he wasn’t. In the years since Zuckerberg has taken a more public role in navigating the company’s many global policy problems, things have arguably only gotten worse for the company formerly known as Facebook.
Now, it seems, Zuckerberg wants out. On Wednesday, he announced that Nick Clegg would become the company’s new president of Global Affairs, reporting directly to Zuckerberg and running point on all of the company’s policy work globally. “We need a senior leader at the level of myself (for our products) and Sheryl [Sandberg] (for our business) who can lead and represent us for all of our policy issues globally,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Facebook.

As far as title changes go, it’s a negligible one. Clegg had already been more or less doing this job since 2018 when he joined the company. The shift says far less about Clegg than it does about how both Zuckerberg and Sandberg’s focus has shifted within the company.
Zuckerberg made no secret of the fact that he hopes this change will free him up to focus on the company’s products. “As Nick takes on this new leadership role, it will enable me to focus more of my energy on leading the company as we build new products for the future,” he wrote.
That’s no small task. Zuckerberg is now in a position he hasn’t really been in before, with user numbers falling on Facebook, investors losing faith and the company’s ad model struggling under new privacy changes. The transition into a metaverse company — whatever that ends up meaning — isn’t just a rebrand to escape from so many years of bad press; it’s a life raft. Navigating that transition is a whole lot trickier when you’re stuck litigating and apologizing for the mistakes of your first 18 years.
As for Sandberg, it’d be easy to see Clegg’s rise as coming at her expense. And in some ways, of course it is. She was, after all, Facebook’s face in Washington during that rocky period between 2016 and 2018, navigating the Russian propaganda crisis and the fallout of the 2016 election. But since that time, it’s been clear both inside of the company and outside of it that Sandberg has ceded some of that territory to Clegg.
“She’s made a clear effort to be less involved in policy over the last few years,” said Crystal Patterson, a former public policy manager for Facebook, who left the company after seven years last fall. “I know externally it looked like she was put in a corner, but I felt like she was happy to take a lower profile and focus on other things after the 2016 mess.” Patterson called Clegg “the best thing they have going in leadership.”

It now falls to Sandberg to figure out how the Facebook business model will translate in its new AR- and VR-focused future, even as Zuckerberg works on developing products themselves. In a comment on Zuckerberg’s post, Sandberg said as much, writing, “The next few years will be a crucial time for our company and our industry as new rules for the internet are written all over the world, and as we set out on our journey to help build the metaverse.”
Clegg’s promotion will give him the gravitas he needs to “get higher-level meetings,” said Katie Harbath, Facebook’s former public policy director, who left the company last spring after 10 years. Plus, she said, “It makes sense given Mark and Sheryl’s lack of interest in policy.”
At least, that’s how it would all work in theory. In practice, Clegg’s promotion may not end up being the magical escape chute Zuckerberg and Sandberg want it to be. At least, not in the big moments. If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that when it comes to Facebook, lawmakers are rarely interested in talking to the clean-up crew. More often, they want a word with the people who actually made the mess.
Thomas Siebel, CEO of data services and tech company, has confirmed that he provided a major donation to the truck drivers that have shut down large parts of Canada’s capital and a key border crossing to protest pandemic protections.
The CEO said he contributed $90,000 to the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” noting it was one of many donations he’s made in honor of issues including protecting “human rights” and “individual liberty.” The company happens to be one of many promising to “democratize” artificial intelligence through low- and no-code AI tools.
“I have a long record of providing substantial support to efforts to improve education, advance research, improve access to education, address homelessness, alleviate food scarcity, assure climate security, fund stem cell research, reduce substance abuse, assist the underprivileged, and protect human rights. These are personal initiatives and have nothing to do with the companies or organizations with which he is associated,” Siebel said in a statement sent to Protocol.

However, Siebel swapped “individual liberty” with “human rights” in multiple statements supplied to the media. In a near-identical statement that Siebel gave to Illinois newspaper The News Gazette published Tuesday, Siebel included his goal “to protect individual liberty.”
The tech billionaire’s donation to the disruptive trucker collective and its supporters was first revealed when hackers leaked a list of people who allegedly funded the controversial movement demanding an end to COVID-19 mask mandates in Canada. The jam of parked delivery trucks and their honking drivers, camped since January 28 at the Ambassador Bridge near Detroit, led to a standstill at the U.S.-Canada border. (A related protest in Ottawa has also put residents on edge.)
The Ambassador Bridge was reopened Sunday, but the protest bottleneck created an auto parts shortage and forced Motor City automakers, including General Motors, to charter cargo planes to ship parts over the border. counts trucking, logistics and manufacturing companies among its clientele. The company provides software used for things like package logistics, energy management and predicting fleet maintenance needs, for example.
Despite Siebel’s support for the group of truckers that are fighting to end covid-19 protections and vaccine requirements, he told Illinois newspaper The News Gazette that all employees at’s headquarters are tested twice each week using testing technology developed at the University of Illinois. Siebel is a graduate of the school and mega-donor with buildings dedicated to the studies of design and computer science named after him.
Microsoft’s social VR platform AltspaceVR is getting rid of social hubs to crack down on online harassment, the company announced Wednesday morning. Altspace is also instituting additional safeguards by default, and it will require people to use Microsoft accounts in the coming weeks — a measure that is meant to help parents keep their young children out of Altspace.
“Everyone should always feel safe in experiences like AltspaceVR,” wrote Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman, who leads the company’s AR and VR initiatives, in a blog post. “We have a responsibility to establish guardrails and we look forward to sharing more as we continue this journey with you.”
Altspace is one of the oldest social VR platforms and was acquired by Microsoft in 2017. Over the years, there have been repeated reports of sexual harassment in Altspace, which included complaints about incidents happening in social hubs, which are open, town square-like spaces that can be entered by anyone, and were meant to give newcomers a way to take their first steps in VR.

Microsoft’s response to this is now to shut down these spaces. The company is also turning on, by default, people’s personal safety bubble, which prevents others from coming too close, and going forward, people will be automatically muted when they enter an event.
Shopify reported record revenue of $1.38 billion for the fourth quarter, surpassing analysts’ consensus forecast of $1.34 billion. But the beat wasn’t enough for Wall Street. Its shares tumbled by 18% Wednesday after the company reported a slower growth outlook.
The slower growth as compared to last year was attributed by Shopify to the absence of “COVID-triggered acceleration […] in the form of lockdowns and government stimulus,” as well as “caution around inflation and consumer spend near term.” In other words, the pandemic boost to ecommerce is fading.
Shopify said it still expected to grow faster than the ecommerce industry as a whole, and expects growth to pick up speed again in the second half of the year, as it predicts that “certain commercial initiatives and sales and marketing investments will gain momentum over the course of 2022.”
Workers in Belgium now have the right to ask their employers for a four-day workweek. The Belgian government on Tuesday passed the reform, along with a bundle of other revisions to the country’s labor laws.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the goal is to make the economy more productive and increase employment, The Guardian reported. To appease workers, the government is requiring companies to adopt more-flexible working hours and the option to totally disconnect after working hours. Employees requesting a four-day workweek will be expected to work longer hours but won’t lose any salary.
The four-day workweek has been growing in popularity across the globe, including in Iceland, where the government trialed the program from 2015 to 2019. It is also becoming a go-to work perk in Silicon Valley for companies that think they can get more done in a shorter amount of time. Some adopt the policy temporarily to offer three-day weekends over the summer, but others — like ecommerce company Bolt — have adopted the practice permanently.

For smaller startups, the four-day workweek might not be as feasible. But advocates say the shorter week makes workers more productive, and the companies that have transitioned may never go back.
Epic Games’ The Matrix Awakens, an interactive tech demo for its upcoming Unreal Engine 5 platform, has amassed more than 6 million downloads since the company released the free software on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles on Dec. 9.
It’s an impressive figure for what largely amounts to a short, trailer-like experience that doubled at the time as an advertisement for the fourth “Matrix” film. But The Matrix Awakens represents, in Epic’s eyes, the future of its business. It acts as a showcase for the the real-time blend of cinematic storytelling with unprecedented levels of photorealism. It also gives players a peek at the shrinking distinction between real and computer-generated imagery that could dominate both future big-budget video games and the avatars and other assets that populate the metaverse.
The software was created using some of the most cutting-edge video game development tools ever made, and those tools will be released more widely to the game development and Hollywood visual effects communities later this year with the public release of Unreal Engine 5. “We’re on the cusp of really not being able to tell the difference between reality and the virtual world,” Epic CTO Kim Libreri, who worked as visual effects supervisor on the original “Matrix” trilogy, told Protocol in December. “As we head into the metaverse, think of the possibility of games, experiences, stories that are generated in real time.”

“It’s too early to say exactly how the metaverse will take shape, but we see it as a shared social 3D world with persistence, discovery, moderation, and commerce,” the company wrote in a blog post published Wednesday. “It will be an evolution of the internet as we know it, and its foundations will be built on real-time 3D technology.”
Epic is also releasing some metrics for its Unreal platform ahead of the planned spring 2022 release date of Unreal Engine 5. The company says it now has more than 500 million Epic accounts across its PC game store, which includes Fortnite, and its Unreal platform. And 48% of games currently in development for next-gen consoles are using Unreal tools.
Google is following Apple in stopping cross-app tracking on Android phones, the company said Wednesday. The change potentially creates another challenge for platforms that rely on app-tracking to understand consumer behavior and bolster their ads businesses.
“We don’t think there should be a forced choice between privacy and developers building their business,” Anthony Chavez, VP of product management for Android security and privacy, told the Wall Street Journal.
Given the fallout from Apple’s privacy change, which requires apps to ask users if they want to be tracked, platforms like Facebook may have a hard time with Google’s plan for Android. During its most recent earnings call, Meta said Apple’s ad tracking rule will result in a $10 billion sales drop this year. Snap, on the other hand, had expected Apple’s rule would be more of a challenge a few months ago, but the company doesn’t seem too concerned anymore.
Google said it will create a more privacy-focused system for gathering information about users, but details on the new system are sparse, according to WSJ. Some smartphone apps currently collect and share data about users using alphanumeric identifiers, or a series of letters and numbers tied to a device. Google said it will continue supporting those apps for at least two years before implementing any changes.

After months of hearings and debates, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn have introduced their long-promised legislation to require tech platforms to implement new controls for minors and their parents and make changes to mitigate harms to kids online.
The Kids Online Safety Act applies to any app or online service that could be used by kids 16 and younger. Under the bill, those platforms would have a duty to prevent the promotion of certain harmful behaviors, including suicide and self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse and more. They would also have to give parents and users under 16 the ability to opt out of algorithmic recommendations, prevent third parties from viewing a minor’s data and limit the time kids spend on the platform, among other things. Those controls would have to be turned on by default. The bill also includes provisions regarding platforms’ disclosure policies and advertising systems.
“Big Tech has brazenly failed children and betrayed its trust, putting profits above safety. Seared in my memory — and motivating my passion — are countless harrowing stories from Connecticut and across the country about heartbreaking loss, destructive emotional rabbit holes, and addictive dark places rampant on social media,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “The Kids Online Safety Act would finally give kids and their parents the tools and safeguards they need to protect against toxic content — and hold Big Tech accountable for deeply dangerous algorithms. Algorithms driven by eyeballs and dollars will no longer hold sway.”

Momentum for this kind of legislation has been growing since whistleblower Frances Haugen came forward with internal research on Instagram’s impact on teens’ mental health. Congress has since called Instagram head Adam Mosseri and Facebook head of Safety Antigone Davis to testify on those findings. Leaders from TikTok, Snap and YouTube have also testified about the well-being of kids on their apps.
“This legislation is the product of those hours of hearings, those hours of work that have gone into answering that question: How do we make certain that our children are safer online?” Sen. Blackburn said on a call with reporters Wednesday.
In addition to the changes the bill would make to the platforms themselves, it would also bring some much-needed transparency to what platforms know about their impact on kids. That, of course, was part of the shock value of Haugen’s revelations: the idea that Instagram had discovered one thing in private and that its leaders were saying another thing in public. The Kids Online Safety Act would require covered companies to issue an annual public report about potential risks to minors.
It would also require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to set up a program under which researchers interested in studying kids’ safety on a given platform could apply for data sets that companies would then have to hand over. And it would give safe harbor to researchers who collect data on harms to minors on their own. Tech giants have recently clashed with the research community over data scraping practices.

Sen. Blumenthal said on the call that while the White House has not offered any formal support for the bill, “informally there have been very encouraging comments from the White House.”
The bill follows the implementation of the U.K.’s Age Appropriate Design Code last fall, which has already compelled platforms to make changes with regard to how they treat kids’ data. TikTok, meanwhile, announced this month that it’s testing age-based safety ratings to filter out mature content for younger users.

This story has been updated to include additional details from the press call.
Akamai is buying infrastructure-as-a-service provider Linode for $900 million, the companies announced Tuesday. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.
Akamai is mainly know for its content delivery and edge computing, services but also has offerings in security. Linode, which provides the typical cloud computing services, has positioned itself as an alternative to AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.
Together, the two companies plan to offer a range of compute, storage and security services all the way “from cloud to edge.” The acquisition is also part of Akamai’s broader strategy to expand beyond security and delivery.
“The opportunity to combine Linode’s developer-friendly cloud computing capabilities with Akamai’s market-leading edge platform and security services is transformational for Akamai,” said co-founder and CEO Tom Leighton, in the announcement.

The announcement comes on the heels of Akamai’s fourth-quarter earnings call, which showed modest growth overall, but large free cash flows that helped fuel the acquisition of Guardicore last quarter,and now Linode. Akamai estimates that Linode will help accelerate growth, adding $100 million in revenue for the company this fiscal year.

The president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors wants to set a temporary ban on Amazon delivery facilities — and other package delivery centers — within the city so that San Francisco can study the environmental and economic effects of already existing locations.
New legislation introduced today by Board President Shamann Walton would set an 18-month moratorium on Amazon and other delivery facilities with the introduction of interim zoning controls, “allowing for further investigations on the facilities’ impacts on both the community and environment,” according to a press release. Amazon warehouses and delivery facilities are often located in communities with majority-minority populations, as well as lower-income neighborhoods, and some environmental groups and researchers have found the facilities can bring noise, light and environmental pollution to those neighborhoods, according to an investigation from Consumer Reports.
Walton introduced the bill at the urging of a number of union groups, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Teamsters voted to make organizing around Amazon delivery and fulfillment a national priority last year and are advocating for a number of bills that would give cities and states more control over the company.

The San Francisco mayor’s office signed a memorandum of understanding with Amazon over the potential development of a new facility in the city last year; though the MOU was intended to be kept secret, the existence of the document was first reported by the San Francisco Standard in February 2022.
In addition to the Teamsters, community groups like the San Francisco Southeast Alliance have been organizing against the proposed SF project and other California-based facilities and demanding that Amazon commit to more change for the communities where it wants to build new delivery facilities.
Amazon and Walton did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Meta is changing the name of the Facebook “News Feed,” to “Feed,” the company announced Tuesday. Little additional information is available at the moment, though given the company’s tanking stock price, it makes us wonder: Is this another “look over there!” rebrand from the company previously known as Facebook?

Many of the blue app’s biggest problems originate with the News Feed algorithm, as was highlighted by Frances Haugen last year. The algorithm is programmed to emphasize engagement, often amplifying hate and disinformation and allegedly addicting users to toxic content as it goes. This, in the worst cases, has helped people organize an insurrection domestically and sparked genocide overseas.

Often the “news” propagated by the News Feed isn’t really news at all, but opinion pieces, politically charged commentary or outright lies. This, combined with the ways social media in general has kneecapped traditional media’s business models, has long made the News Feed a thorn in journalists’ side.

“Facebook’s News Feed has a bunch of far-right propaganda masquerading as news. So they’ve renamed it ‘Feed’ [sic] Problem solved!” tweeted political reporter Judd Legum on Twitter.
Changing the name of “News Feed” to “Feed” hardly solves either of these problems and neither will changing the name of Facebook teammates to metamates. But maybe, if the rebranding is shiny and sparkly enough, investors won’t care.
Meta updated its company values. Among the changes, its employees are now called “metamates.”
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company’s changing its set of values to reflect the company’s growth and new focus on the metaverse. The update changed “move fast” to “move fast together,” “be bold” to “build awesome things” and added “focus on long-term impact” to the list of values. Rather than having “be open” in its values, Meta added “live in the future” and “be direct and respect your colleagues” to the list.
It also changed “Newsfeed” to “Feed.”
“We wrote our current company values back in 2007,” Zuckerberg said in the post. “They have been remarkably durable, but a lot has changed during this time. We are now a distributed company. We have a global community and wide reaching impact. And we’re now a metaverse company, building the future of social connection.”

For its final value, Zuckerberg added “Meta, Metamates, Me” to the list, pushing the company’s metaverse rebrand one step further. He said this one relates to “the sense of responsibility we have for our collective success and to each other as teammates.”
“The saying is a reference to a Naval phrase, which Instagram has used for a while “Ship, Shipmates, Self,” Andrew Bosworth, CTO of Meta, tweeted on Tuesday.
The plan to revive Intel’s stalled manufacturing business is beginning to come into focus.
Early Tuesday, Intel announced its $5.4 billion acquisition of the not-exactly-household-name Tower Semiconductor, a contract chip manufacturer.
Intel gets a few things with its acquisition of Tower: The company has new chip factories in Israel, its home base, as well as two in the U.S., and another in Italy. Tower’s main business involves making chips using older process manufacturing technology that Intel no longer uses. These older chip designs, though, have found markets in sectors that include defense, automotive, wireless and industrial sensors, among others.
Intel is buying Tower, executives say, to give it a new portfolio of products — and to, in turn, offer those to its existing customers.
“Our strength in leading-edge nodes, scale manufacturer, combined with Tower’s leadership in specialty technology and a customer-first approach, a perfect match with each other,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a conference call this morning. “And this paves our way to unlock new opportunities for our customers and address more needs within the broader market.

Most importantly, perhaps, Intel is buying a company with 30 years of experience as a contract semiconductor manufacturer. Intel’s Foundry Services is less than a year old and doesn’t have the experience some of its rivals have gained over years of operating.
But, the plan for Tower won’t take shape immediately. Intel said the deal won’t close for 12 months, after which point, Intel says it plans to integrate Tower Semi. Gelsinger estimated that it will take a couple of years to dial in the new business, and turn it into a “competitive foundry.”
Intel has been promising an enormous amount of spending to expand its manufacturing business. The company has committed $20 billion to a factory expansion in Arizona, as much as $100 billion to build out its new Ohio site, and up to $95 billion in Europe — and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down.
“At the same time however, only a flavor of what it will cost to bring it all about has so far been offered; we still do not know when the trough is, how deep it goes, and what the company really will look like on the other side of the chasm (assuming they get there),” Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon wrote in a research note.
Meta-owned Facebook will pay $90 million to settle a privacy lawsuit from 2012, according to a preliminary settlement filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The decade-old case claimed that Facebook violated federal wiretap laws by using cookies to track users even after they’d logged off the platform. Facebook will delete the data related to the case as part of the settlement. If approved, the settlement would be one of the biggest data privacy-related class action settlements to date.
The case was previously dismissed in 2017, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit brought the lawsuit back in 2020. Facebook tried to bring its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but was denied.
The settlement comes one day after Texas filed suit against Meta over allegations of “secretly harvesting” Texans’ photos and videos and applying facial recognition capabilities to them in violation of state biometric privacy law.

TikTok has scooped up hundreds of content moderators from companies such as Accenture, Covalen and Cpl, according to a Financial Times analysis. Social media competitors like Facebook have outsourced their content moderation efforts to some of these firms.
The short-form video service told the FT that it has hired several hundred moderators in the U.K. and Ireland since January 2021. TikTok, a subsidiary of China’s ByteDance, offers these moderators in-house positions with better salaries and benefits in an effort to stand out from rivals like YouTube and Facebook.
“Our continuous investment in our trust and safety operations reflects our focus on maintaining TikTok as a place for creativity and entertainment,” Cormac Keenan, global head of Trust and Safety at TikTok, told the FT.
Content moderation for social networks has gotten increasing attention for its harmful effects on workers’ mental health. Moderators for Facebook and YouTube were ordered to sign forms acknowledging the job can give them PTSD, as they’re exposed to images ranging from child abuse to terrorism, and Facebook is facing lawsuits from moderators who have experienced various mental health conditions.

One moderator who joined TikTok from Accenture last year told the FT that the service’s benefits and environment are better. Another content moderator, who left YouTube for TikTok, said they still witness disturbing content but receive more psychological support from TikTok.
Intel plans to acquire the Israeli chip manufacturing business Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 billion in cash, the company said Tuesday.
If the deal closes, it would boost Intel’s manufacturing capacity for older, less advanced chips. Intel has historically focused on the most advanced processors, or leading edge chips, and sold off older equipment to other companies. Intel said it expects the acquisition to close within 12 months.
Last year, under newly appointed CEO Pat Gelsinger, Intel said that it was creating a contract manufacturing unit to make chips designed by other companies, such as Qualcomm. Adding Tower Semi’s group of factories to Intel’s existing infrastructure would likely expand the company’s range of manufacturing offerings to include some of the less advanced chips used in autos, defense, and medical devices.
Last year, Intel explored acquiring GlobalFoundries, but the Abu Dhabi investment fund that owns it opted to take the company public instead.

Update, Feb. 15, 2022: This story was updated to reflect Intel’s confirmation of talks with Tower Semiconductor.

Chinese ride-hailing giant DiDi, the subject of a listing-and-delisting fiasco last year, has begun a company-wide layoff that will affect about 20% of total employees, according to the Chinese tech publication LatePost. The report was supported by anonymous messages posted on a Chinese workplace discussion forum Maimai a few days earlier. DiDi did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the layoff.
As LatePost reported, the massive layoff will cover most teams at DiDi, including those working on ride-hailing, bike-share and freight transport. Team managers have recently received the layoff order and are expected to complete the process before the end of February. The only departments not affected are DiDi’s globalization unit and autonomous driving unit.
DiDi’s layoffs follow an industry pattern described as 互联网寒冬 (a bitter winter for the internet industry) that pestered Chinese tech workers in the past few months. Almost all prominent Chinese tech companies, including ByteDance, Tencent and Alibaba, have instated varying levels of layoffs due to stricter tech regulations in the country.

According to DiDi’s June 2021 IPO prospectus, the company had over 15,000 employees by the end of 2020.
Microsoft is reopening its Washington and Bay Area offices to employees, visitors and guests on Feb. 28, according to a blog post Monday. The company said that beginning on that day, workers have 30 days to “make adjustments to their routines and adopt the working preferences they’ve agreed upon with their managers.”
In September 2021, the company stopped setting a back-to-office date entirely and said it wouldn’t reopen until COVID-19 was no longer “a significant burden.” Microsoft said the majority of residents in King County, where most Washington state employees live, are now completely vaccinated against COVID-19, and hospitalizations have declined in the area.
The company said its other locations around the U.S. will also reopen soon “as conditions allow.”
Microsoft was one of the first big employers to shut down offices in March 2020 and had adopted a hybrid approach to work since. The company said it still embraces hybrid work, and employees can still request to adjust their work site, location or hours even while offices reopen.

In the blog post, Chris Capossela, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said Microsoft will continue to keep an eye on local health data in all of its locations and “adjust course if necessary. “As we navigate this new phase of work, we’ll continue to take a data-driven approach to decision making that follows the guidance of public health authorities,” Capossela wrote.
At the moment, Meta is planning to reopen its offices at the end of March, while Apple, Google and other big tech companies have not announced new return dates.