10 things in tech you need to know today

Amazon workers across Europe will protest today. Sean Gallup/Getty

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.

  1. Amazon workers across Europe will protest “inhuman” warehouse working conditions on Black Friday. Protests will take the form of demonstrations in the UK, while workers in Spain and Italy are planning a 24-hour strike.
  2. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg admitted that she received emails about the PR firm Facebook hired to disparage its critics. Previously Sandberg said she did not know Facebook had hired Definers Public Affairs.
  3. Alexa’s getting a news anchor speaking voice so it can read headlines to you. Amazon trained Alexa’s new voice by using text-to-speech technology on audio recordings of real newsreaders to pick up on their inflections and nuances.
  4. Apple has reportedly slashed the price of its iPhone XR in Japan. Apple is granting subsidies to carriers in an attempt to get more people buying the phone, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  5. A group of price comparison websites have written an open letter accusing Google of flouting an EU ruling from June 2017. The EU fined Google €2.14 billion for abusing the dominance of its shopping platform. Google said it has complied with the order.
  6. The US government is trying to convince its allies to stop using Huawei phones. US officials briefed their counterparts in countries where Huawei is commonly used to inform them of what they view as a cybersecurity risk, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  7. Google is tightening up its political ad application procedure ahead of EU elections in May 2019. Google will require advertisers to submit an application and wait for verification before they can place a political ad.
  8. Tesla is cutting Model X and Model S prices by up to 26% in China to compensate for trade war tariffs. “We are absorbing a significant part of the tariff to help make our cars more affordable for customers in China,” Tesla said in a statement sent to Reuters.
  9. California fire conspiracies have started to proliferate on YouTube. An investigation by Motherboard found YouTube’s autocomplete was pushing videos blaming the fire on a government conspiracy.
  10. The president of George Soros’s philanthropic organisation called for Facebook to be investigated by Congress. Patrick Gaspard, president of Soros’s Open Society Foundations, also criticised the tech giant for revealing what it knew about Definers PR on the eve of Thanksgiving.

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