Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Monday.
- Uber employees described a stressful and “ridiculous” culture at the self-driving-car unit under its current leader, Eric Meyhofer. As Uber put its self-driving cars back on public roads on Thursday after a fatal accident nine months ago, the company’s internal culture is back in the spotlight.
- Facebook reportedly stopped a project to encourage healthier political discussions after a key exec thought it might offend conservatives. Facebook shelved a project called “Common Ground” that would aim to encourage healthier political discourse on the platform, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- SpaceX is building a “test hopper” Mars spaceship in Texas, and Elon Musk says it could launch by March. The vehicle is a squat version of a full-scale Starship spaceship, one that’s being designed to reach Mars as part of the Big Falcon Rocket system.
- A “nonsense” valuation of $US1 billion, a failed sale to Snap, and an investor fight: How augmented-reality startup Blippar collapsed. The company raised more than $US130 million in investment funding but collapsed last week after burning through the cash and failing to raise more money.
- Facebook quietly killed its Building 8 skunkworks unit as it reshuffles its cutting-edge experiments and hardware. Facebook’s hardware team now lives under a new Portal organisation, and its more experimental projects have been moved to Facebook Reality Labs, Business Insider has learned.
- A workers’ union skewered Amazon’s labour practices with a whack-a-mole game about working at a warehouse over Christmas. The game was created by the GMB union, one of the biggest workers’ unions in the UK.
- Facebook suspended five accounts for spreading misleading information during an Alabama election, including a social media researcher who helped the government discover fake news. Jonathon Morgan, CEO of social media research firm New Knowledge, was suspended.
- A NASA probe is going to visit Ultima Thule, the farthest object humanity has ever tried to reach, on New Year’s Day. NASA’s New Horizons probe, which visited Pluto in 2015, is closing in on a mysterious object called Ultima Thule.
- Slack apologised after users who travelled to Iran had their accounts shut down. On Wednesday, many users who had travelled to Iran found that their Slack accounts shut down because of U.S. sanctions, even though they did not live in Iran, nor did they have professional links to Iran.
- Facebook’s newest Oculus VR headset is on track for a launch this spring. Facebook plans to launch a new standalone VR headset called Oculus Quest in early 2019, and a new FCC filing suggests that the launch is on track.
Happy holidays to all of our readers! 10 things in tech will be back on January 2.
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