Laid off workers flock to Blind app, PagerDuty CEO quotes Martin Luther King when announcing layoffs and OpenAI charges $20 a month for ChatGPT.


That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, February 2nd and I am your host, Ashee Pamma

As layoffs continue to blight the tech industry, laid off employees are taking it to social media platforms to share their stories while remaining wary workers look for information to prepare for looming cuts. Blind, an anonymous network has been a cushion for many of those employees. Not Microsoft-owned Linkedin unsurprisingly, although the employment-focused social media network also saw its fair share of ex-employees chronicling their professional journeys and displeasure after being laid off. According to internal data revealed to news company CNN, some 6000 Microsoft employees signed up for accounts on Blind between Jan 13 and January 18, the day the 10,000 layoffs by the tech giants were announced. Employees used the service to speculate about when the layoffs would come, which departments might get hit and comfort those who were concerned. Employees on the platform are verified through their work email address but they remain anonymous, leading to candid conversations about America’s biggest employers. Now, Blind is filled with posts from workers comforting each other about how to get through periods of unemployment.

Source: CNN

In an email to employees announcing layoffs, PagerDuty’s CEO Jennifer Tejada turned to a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.”I am reminded in moments like this, of something Martin Luther King said, that “the ultimate measure of a [leader] is not where [they] stand in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where [they] stand in times of challenge and controversy”. After facing heavy backlash for being “tone deaf” and self-aggrandizing, she has now apologized for using the quote in the layoffs announcement. She admitted that the quote was inappropriate and insensitive and she should have been more upfront and thoughtful. Seven per cent of the company’s headcount was slashed in this announcement.

Source: Business Insider

OpenAI announced that it is starting to sell subscriptions to ChatGPT for $20 a month. ChatGPT will still be available for free to users who don’t subscribe, but paying customers will get priority access, faster response times, and early use of new features. According to experts, ChatGPT is looking to monetize as the AI service is taking a lot of computing power, costing OpenAI $100,000 a day or more to run it, Axios wrote. Monetization of its technology is especially important for the AI firm right now, following its 10 billion investment from Microsoft. OpenAI said in a blog post that the company is actively exploring options for lower-cost plans, business plans, and data packs for more availability.

Source: Axios

In February, the Supreme Court will hear a landmark case on Section 230 of Communications Decency Act. This legal provision protects social platforms from lawsuits over harmful user-generated content while giving them the authority to remove posts at their own discretion. This provision has been key to BigTech’s massive growth and if repealed, social media companies will have to transform their content moderation strategy. However, smaller sites like Reddit and Wikipedia that rely on community moderation will also be hit as moderators simply doing their jobs will also be taking a legal risk every time they moderate a content. Reddit’s lawyers filed an amicus brief claiming that their features like “upvotes” and “downvotes” are protected by Section 230, which Congress crafted to immunize Internet ‘users,’ not just platforms. Wikimedia, the foundation that manages Wikipedia, is also worried that a new interpretation of Section 230 might force volunteer editors to court for how they deal with user-generated content.

Source: MIT Technology Review

Samsung unveiled its sustainability efforts at the 2023 Samsung Unpacked event, saying that their Samsung Galaxy S23 series, were the company’s most sustainable phones yet. The company said the new Samsung Galaxy S23 phones are UL ECOLOGO certified. This certification indicates that a product has a reduced environmental impact based on environmental performance criteria throughout its life cycle, including energy reduction, materials, health, environment, manufacturing, and operations. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is made up of 12 internal and external components of recycled material, compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which was made of six. These recycled materials include pre-consumer recycled aluminum and glass and post-consumer recycled plastics sourced from discarded fishing nets, PET bottles, and water barrels. The phones also come in 100% recycled packaging certified as sustainably sourced.

Source: ZDNet

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Ashee Pamma.

The post Hashtag Trending Feb.2- Blind app provides info and support to laid off workers; tech CEO quotes Martin Luther King; ChatGPT for $20 first appeared on IT World Canada.

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