A prolonged, widespread outage affected customers of several different Salesforce products Tuesday afternoon, and also took down its status page.
"Salesforce is currently experiencing a service disruption across multiple instances," the company confirmed on Twitter with a link to its status page, which was not working. The sales and marketing software company uses a combination of cloud providers and its own data centers to provide its services, and it was not immediately clear what was causing the outage.
Severalcustomers took to Twitter to inform their own customers that responses to support tickets and other inquiries would be delayed until the outage is resolved.
Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris acknowledged the outage on Twitter, blaming the disruption on a "DNS issue," which is a very common reason for prolonged cloud service outages.
This story was updated at 4:14 p.m. PT to include Harris's explanation of the outage.
Better.com said Tuesday that it is going public via a special acquisition acquisition company in a deal that values the digital mortgage lender at $6.9 billion.
Better.com has signed a merger agreement with Aurora Acquisition Corp., which completed its own initial public offering in March. The merger, once effective, would turn Better.com into a publicly listed company. The companies said they expected to complete the deal by December.
SB Management Limited, a SoftBank subsidiary, will be part of the deal through a $1.5 billion private investment in public equity. Better.com announced last month that SoftBank had invested $500 million in the company, boosting its valuation to $6 billion.
Facebook research has found that users who had the company's COVID-19 information center promoted in their News Feeds experienced a 3% increase in their belief in facts about vaccines, compared to users who did not. "It's an example of how even a single campaign can have an impact here," Facebook's head of health, KX Jin, said in a call with reporters Tuesday.
Facebook released those stats along with results of a survey the company has been conducting in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, which CMU statistician Alex Reinhart called "the largest public health survey ever conducted." That survey found that vaccine acceptance is on the rise nationally, particularly among Black and Hispanic adults.
As part of this research, Facebook has been assessing its own ability to influence vaccine acceptance, promoting the COVID-19 information center in a subset of users' News Feeds across five countries and comparing their survey results to a control group. That experiment yielded positive results, said Heidi Larson, founding director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "Any incremental... positive increase is a good thing," Larson said.
Still, Larson said that research in both the U.S. and in Africa has shown that people who spend more time on social media are more likely to be hesitant about the vaccine. "For those that spend a larger proportion of time on social media," she said, "there is a correlation with more tendency to believe conspiracy and misinformation."
Facebook said it's using the results of this and other research to design new interventions, including the vaccination stickers and profile frames the company recently rolled out. "Researchers at MIT actually did a separate Facebook COVID-19 survey and found that vaccine acceptance can increase simply by showing the number of people in your area that plan to be vaccinated," Jin said.
Coinbase banned all salary and equity negotiations for its future hiring and instead plans to offer identical pay to every employee in the same position and location in an effort to eliminate the lingering effects of early-career pay disparities.
The company announced the new policy as part of a series of steps to make its compensation more competitive and fair, according to a blog post written Monday by L. J. Brock, Coinbase's chief people officer. "Traditionally people expect they need to negotiate for the best package after being hired in a new job. Those that do this well tend to be rewarded, and those that don't lose out. These negotiations can disproportionately leave women and underrepresented minorities behind, and a disparity created early in someone's career can follow them for decades," Brock wrote.
Coinbase will also increase its compensation targets to the 75th percentile of its peers and adopt annual equity grants that vest yearly over the course of the workers' career, instead of the standard four-year vesting grants offered at most tech companies. Stripe and Lyft have also recently shifted their equity offers to one year from four.
While the four-year vesting rules typically create longer retention periods for tech companies, the new one-year offers will allow companies with fast-growing valuations to avoid enormous equity payouts, costing less over the long-term for small and medium-sized startups. The new offers may also prove more attractive to top talent interested in increased workplace flexibility as the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.
"Some may say eliminating 4-year new hire grants could hurt retention; we disagree. We don't want employees to feel locked in at Coinbase based on grants awarded 3 or 4 years prior. We want to earn our employees' commitment every year and, likewise, expect them to earn their seat at Coinbase," Brock wrote.
Apple has released a new stat touting the benefits of the App Store, amid its ongoing antitrust trial with Epic Games that touches upon whether the store serves a necessary function in the iOS ecosystem. The company says that in 2020, the App Store protected against $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions.
"In 2020 alone, Apple's combination of sophisticated technology and human expertise protected customers from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions, preventing the attempted theft of their money, information, and time — and kept nearly a million risky and vulnerable new apps out of their hands," the company said. Apple says the App Store is "an essential line of defense" and that its guidelines exist with "the goal of protecting users and providing them with the very best experience on the App Store."
Apple's argument here is a strategic one, designed to downplay the financial benefits of the App Store in favor of promoting it as a tool for security and privacy that stands in between bad actors and iPhone owners. But the App Store is a big moneymaker; mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower estimates the App Store generated $22 billion in commissions for Apple in 2020 and accounted for $72 billion in global consumer spending. Much of that money comes from free-to-play mobile games, like Epic's Fortnite, that act as the economic engine of the App Store.
The first week of Epic v. Apple involved a fair amount of testimony about the benefits of the App Store and the intricacies of the App Store's review processes, including testimony from App Store Vice President Matt Fischer. "We work really hard to make the App Store a marketplace that's attractive to both customers as well as to developers," Fischer testified. "I might be biased, but I certainly l think that what we do is incredibly unique, and I certainly have not seen any marketplace that distributes apps or games do what we're doing in terms of providing marketing and editorial support like this to developers."
Epic has argued the App Store does not prevent fraud, scams and other violations of Apple's guidelines from slipping through and also that the benefits it provides do not justify the 30% cut Apple takes of all digital goods. One of the aims of Epic's antitrust case, alongside getting Fortnite back on the iPhone, is to bypass the App Store's commission and to force Apple to allow alternative app stores on iOS.
Apple's announcement contains a number of 2020 stats, some of which were revealed in court documents submitted as evidence in Epic v. Apple last week:
Nearly 1 million problematic new apps and an additional 1 million app updates rejected or removed
More than 48,000 apps rejected for "containing hidden or documented features"
More than 150,000 apps rejected because they were "found to be spam, copycats, or misleading"
About 95,000 apps removed for "fraudulent violations, predominantly for these kind of bait-and-switch maneuvers"
More than 215,000 apps rejected for privacy violations
470,000 developer accounts terminated over fraud concerns
Nearly 110,000 illegitimate apps on "pirate storefronts" blocked
3.2 million instances of apps distributed through the Apple Developer Enterprise Program blocked
244 million customers accounts deactivated due to "fraudulent and abusive activity"