Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.
- Huawei filed a lawsuit against the US government, which has banned federal agents from using its equipment over security concerns. In a press conference on Thursday local time, the company claimed the US government has failed to produce evidence to back up concerns that the company poses a security threat, and accused the US of acting unconstitutionally.
- Airbnb has acquired HotelTonight, the app for finding discount hotel rooms. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but HotelTonight was valued at $US463 million in a 2017 private funding round.
- Facebook has a 6,000-person security army quietly protecting its tens of thousands of employees worldwide. They face major challenges such as the personal protection of Mark Zuckerberg, and preventing the theft of prototype devices.
- Tesla has reportedly laid off about 8% of its employees in the past week. Employees estimated the size of the layoffs based on internal Tesla data, but Tesla has disputed the numbers.
- Facebook is taking steps to address a flood of anti-vaccine misinformation on its platform. The company announced it was taking action against groups and pages that spread “anti-vax” content on the social network – including reducing its ranking in search results and on the News Feed, and removing them from recommendations that automatically appear across the platform.
- SoftBank has launched a $US5 billion fund for Latin America. The new fund, called the SoftBank Innovation Fund, will be run by former Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.
- Mark Zuckerberg was criticised for a blogpost in which he said Facebook has chosen not to store data in countries that “have a track record of violating human rights like privacy or freedom of expression.” Facebook did announce plans to open a major data centre in Singapore, which has a poor record of human rights.
- Scooter company Bird will allow third-party scooter companies to plug into its app, essentially licensing its brand to local entrepreneurs. Would-be scooter entrepreneurs can buy a batch of Bird’s scooters, then run the service in their own cities.
- Facebook detected a network of fake accounts in the UK that were trying to influence political debate. The pages posed as both far-right and anti-far-right activists, spread hate speech, and posted about hot-button political issues.
- Elon Musk’s security clearance is reportedly under review by the Pentagon after he smoked marijuana on Joe Rogan’s podcast in September. Musk’s security clearance is tied to SpaceX, the rocket manufacturing and launching company where Musk serves as CEO.
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