February 25, 2022
Photo: Burak Kara/Getty Images
Good morning! Tech can solve a lot of things, but whether it can solve for peace is still unclear.
Nothing feels very far away anymore. CNN brought once-distant wars into our living rooms, but TikTok and YouTube and Twitter have put them in our pockets. Following along with what’s happening is now easier than ever, though that’s often fraught with misinformation and lack of context, and social networks are quickly having to figure out what to take down and what to leave up.
The war is affecting all of us, whether we know it or not. WhatsApp, PayPal, Spark Mail and People.ai were founded by Ukrainians. Companies like Grammarly have major offices in Kyiv.
President Joe Biden imposed additional sanctions on Russian tech, and American companies will feel knock-on effects. The U.S. announced chip sanctions, and the administration said the European Union, Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom would be following suit.
The war is being conducted by land, air, sea — and cyber. That last battlefield is the murkiest, where it’s hard to distinguish a flood of interest from a storm of bots.
And while the United States refuses to engage in combat with Russia, American technologists are taking a stand with their wallets. The Ukrainian government set up a special website to collect donations to fund its defense operations yesterday, but only direct bank transfers are allowed — no PayPal, WebMoney or crypto.
The tech industry naturally looks for digital solutions. For a humanitarian disaster of global scale, it’s not clear that will always provide a fix. Yet tech’s wealth, power and reach can help fight misinformation, connect the displaced with resources and shine a light on abuses. There may not be an app for peacemaking, but there’s certainly an appetite for it.
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Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong doesn’t think a crypto winter is coming:
Rivian’s EV push in Illinois is moving along, R.J. Scaringe said:
Andy Weil said Netflix is playing around more with interactive stories:
Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tammy Baldwin want TikTok to address content that promotes eating disorders:
Nintendo bought SRD Co., a longtime partner, for an undisclosed amount.
Sima Sistani is the new CEO of WW International. Sistani was the CEO and co-founder of Houseparty.
Mitch Black is the new EVP and GM of Motus Device. Black has held leadership roles at companies including Verizon and BrightPoint.
George Li is DecisionLink’s new CFO. Li was a group controller at Cisco and most recently worked at Datrium.
Chirag Shah is Kong’s first CFO. Shah previously worked in the same role at Cornerstone OnDemand.
TikTok and Facebook users captured footage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but some footage was misleading or entirely fake. Facebook delisted videos that were described as live attacks on Ukraine by Russia.
The SEC is looking into stock sales by Elon Musk and his brother for potential insider trading violations. The sale was made a day before Musk tweeted about selling Tesla shares.
Reddit added a tab for photos and videos, called the Discover tab. The platform will feed users content based on the subreddits they’re most involved with.
The Justice Department is suing to block UnitedHealth’s purchase of Change, a data-processing firm. The DOJ is alleging that United wants to buy Change to get insight into other insurers’ plans and payments.
Tesla is building a new plant in Shanghai, sources told Reuters. The expanded facility would be able to produce up to 2 million cars per year once it’s operational.
Disney+ and HBO Max are gaining on Netflix. Disney+ added more subscribers than Netflix last quarter, and HBO Max is slowly adding more global and domestic subscribers.
The amount of information at our fingertips right now is overwhelming. But one way to cut through the noise is by changing how you’re reading the information to begin with.
The Live Universal Awareness Map, or liveuamap, is a visual way of keeping track of everything that’s happening in the Ukraine. It uses various social media accounts and news sources to plot key events, like missile strikes and tank locations. It’s been around since 2014, when Crimea was annexed, and includes other conflicts and regions.
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