Tech community responds to social injustice with statements of support, donations and employee protests

06/04/2020 - Jin Woo

Published every Thursday, The Blue Print recaps the industry’s most intriguing news, unexpected shifts and developing trends that are defining the business and technology landscape.

Here’s the news that caught our attention this week:

New York Times: Think Outside the Box, Jack

Our country is going through biological, economic and societal convulsions. We can’t trust the powerful forces in this nation to tell us the truth or do the right thing. In fact, not only can we not trust them. We have every reason to believe they’re gunning for us. In Washington, the Trump administration’s deception about the virus was lethal. On Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, the fat cats who carved up the country, drained us dry and left us with no safety net profiteered off the virus. In Minneapolis, the barbaric death of George Floyd after a police officer knelt on him for almost nine minutes showed yet again that black Americans have everything to fear from some who are charged with protecting them.

Why it Matters: Social media platforms have used artificial intelligence to build powerful algorithms driven by profits. This can lead to persuasive content that is misleading in its users’ feeds. But is it the role of such platforms to remove “misleading” content or the responsibility of users to make informed decisions based on unfiltered content? If these platforms are deciding what content appears in users’ feeds, the companies behind it need to be more transparent and accountable.

Tags: Donald Trump, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Twitter

CNET: Facebook employees stage rare protest against Zuckerberg’s response to Trump

Facebook employees are staging a rare protest against the company for leaving up a post from President Donald Trump they say could incite violence. The employees, who began publicly criticizing the social network on Twitter over the weekend, have escalated their disapproval by staging a virtual walkout and symbolically changing their workplace profile pictures.

Why it Matters: Tech companies have thousands of employees that can impact change. Facebook, for example, has 48,000 employees. The actions and inactions of Facebook and other social media platforms can influence the perspective at a global scale. Facebook
has the most monthly active users of any social platform, by some estimates to be 2.23 billion. Combine that with Facebook-owned Instagram, which accounts for another 1 billion monthly active users.

Tags: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Donald Trump, FCC

Forbes: Corporate Donations Tracker: Here Are The Companies Giving Millions To Anti-Racism Efforts

Some of America’s biggest companies are responding to public pressure to donate to anti-racism campaigns and publicly stand by the black community following the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Why it Matters: Organizations and individuals have the ability to drive change, not just via monetary donations, but in how they leverage their social platforms. Moreover, future employees will increasingly choose their next employer based on their positions and actions taken in response to these events.

Tags: United Health Group, Facebook, Apple, Intel, Levi’s, T-mobile, Melinda Gates, Amazon, Spotify, Snap, Netflix, Microsoft, Zillow, Disney, NFL

CNBC: SpaceX launch was ‘smoother’ than space shuttle, NASA astronauts say

The pair of astronauts who served as test pilots for SpaceX’s launch last weekend say the experience was an enjoyable one, even better than the space shuttle they flew on before.
“The ride I’ll say was a little bit smoother than our shuttle experience. The shuttle was a little bit rougher, at least at the beginning,” NASA astronaut Bob Behnken told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday, speaking from the International Space Station. When Behnken and Doug Hurley launched on Saturday, they became the first people SpaceX has sent into orbit. SpaceX launched the two astronauts in the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, using its Falcon 9 rocket to lift off the Earth. The spacecraft, which the astronauts named “Dragon Endeavour,” then docked with the space station on Sunday.

Why it Matters: SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch humans to space on its own spacecraft. With an estimated valuation of $36 billion, it is one of the most valuable private companies in the world and has secured $1.7 billion in funding since the beginning of 2019.

Tags: SpaceX, Elon Musk, NASA, Bob Behnken, Doug Herley, Crew Dragon, Falcon 9, rocket, spacecraft, Dragon Endeavour

TechTarget: Cisco acquisition of ThousandEyes has many user benefits

Cisco plans to acquire internet intelligence vendor ThousandEyes. The acquisition, announced this week, would give Cisco customers better visibility into internet connections among the data center, branch offices and multiple cloud providers.

Why it Matters: As more employees are currently working from home and organizations are leveraging low-cost commodity internet at the edge as part of their digital transformation strategies, this acquisition gives Cisco customers better visibility across its entire infrastructure.

Tags: Cisco, ThousandEyes, Internet, visibility, edge, remote workers, digital transformation

SD Times: Observability: It’s all about the data

Observability is the latest evolution of application performance monitoring, enabling organizations to get a view into CI/CD pipelines, microservices, Kubernetes, edge devices and cloud and network performance, among other systems.

Why it Matters: While visibility solutions have enabled IT teams to quickly troubleshoot problems, the next generation of monitoring solutions are moving towards what is being called observability. This looks at data coming in from many different sources to understand necessary actions. Existing vendors are pivoting towards this and new startups are emerging claiming observability capabilities.

Tags: Observability, Visibility, APM