In order to settle a lawsuit brought by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Activision Blizzard has agreed to establish an $18 million fund for eligible claimants meaning, employees who were harmed by the company's discriminatory hiring and management practices. The EEOC lawsuit was filed Monday, and that same afternoon, Activision Blizzard announced the $18 million conclusion.Activision Blizzard is the company behind blockbuster video game franchises including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch. Activision Blizzard's revenue for the year 2020 was $8.1 billion, with a profit of more than $2 billion.Today's $18 million agreement follows a three-year investigation into Activision Blizzard by the EEOC. The agreement is subject to court approval, and any leftover funds will be distributed among equality groups in the video game industry. The company is also upgrading its workplace policies and appointing a third-party equal opportunity consultant that will report to the Board of Directors and the EEOC.This is just one of several lawsuits assailing Activision Blizzard at the moment. The first was filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing on July 20th, following a years-long investigation that concluded Activision Blizzard executives fostered a sexist, frat-boy style culture, and the company routinely violated equal-pay and labor laws. Since then, the SEC has opened its own investigation into the company, investors have filed a separate lawsuit, and the National Labor Relations Board is looking into complaints of coercion and interrogation at Activision Blizzard in response to the recent legal pressure. Several high-profile executives have left the company.
Things got super awkward at this press conference. Andrew might not be able to play home games for his team, and that could cost him millions. It's like the vaccine is the only shot he won't take!
With the addition of features like a 120Hz display on some models, Apples iPhone 13 lineup is many ways a step above the phones the company shipped last year. But when it comes to the question of repairability, the story is more complicated. Conducting a teardown of the device, iFixit found it couldnt get the iPhone 13s Face ID feature to work if replaced the phones display. No matter what workaround it tried, iFixit could not get Face ID to work again. By its estimation, the display on the iPhone 13 lineup is serial-locked to the device. Right now, if you replace your screen, Apple kills your Face ID, unless they control the repair, the company warns.While obviously not a good look for Apple, there may be a simple explanation for whats happening. iFixit says it spoke to a licensed repair technician who said they were told by Apple support that the issue is a bug the company plans to fix in a future iOS release. Weve reached out to Apple for more information. If it turns that limitation is not a mistake, it would be a brazen move on Apples part given that the FTC, at the behest of President Joe Biden, recently voted unanimously to tackle unlawful repair restrictions.
Facebook will publish two internal slide decks detailing its research into how Instagram affects teens mental health sometime in the next few days. Speaking at an online event hosted by The Atlantic, the companys policy chief Nick Clegg said the company would release the data to Congress before making it available to the public.We're just making sure that all the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted so that we can release it both to Congress and then to the public in the next few days," Clegg said of the slides, some of which have already been made public. His comments more than 10 days after The Wall Street Journalpublished an investigation into how Instagram affects the teens who use it. Citing internal research conducted by Facebook, The Journal wrote that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of teens, particularly teenage girls.The investigation prompted immediate pushback from lawmakers, many of whom were already wary of Facebooks handling of child safety, and its plans to build a version of its service for children under 13. On Monday, Instagram said it would pause that work in order to create more parental supervision tools. Members of Congress responded saying they want the company to end the project entirely. Facebooks head of safety is scheduled to testify at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the subject Thursday.Now, Facebook seems to be hoping that releasing more of its underlying research could help address concerns from lawmakers and others. In a separate statement published Sunday, the companys top researcher suggested that The Wall Street Journal had mischaracterized its research. Clegg went a step further Monday, saying that the reporting based on documents leaked by someone who clearly feels they have some points to make.If you read the decks, and then compare it with some of the assertions that, you know, Instagram is toxic for all teens and so on, I don't think any reasonable person would say that the research sustains that claim, Clegg said. When the dust settles people will see that we're just sincerely trying to kind of like external researchers are trying to work out what the complex relationship is between individuals, given their own individual circumstances, and their lives and their use of social media.A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the company would release two decks that were central to The Journal report, but didnt elaborate on the timing of the release.But the decks alone are unlikely to quiet Facebooks critics. For one, Facebooks own rebuttal of The Wall Street Journal reporting appears to undermine the significance of its own research. This research, some of which relied on input from only 40 teens, was designed to inform internal conversations about teens most negative perceptions of Instagram, Facebook VP Pratiti Raychoudhury wrote. It did not measure causal relationships between Instagram and real-world issues.It also raises questions about how Facebook will present the data it does make public. Last month, the company released a report on widely viewed content on its platform. The report was meant to rebuff criticism that News Feed favors polarizing content. But researchers outside the company quickly poked holes in the report, and said it was emblematic of Facebooks larger transparency issues, particularly when it comes to working with outside researchers.Which is why its notable that Clegg would invoke external researchers in his defense of the company. If Instagram isnt actually harmful to most teens, as the company is claiming, then researchers not on Facebooks payroll may be positioned to credibly make that point. Yet researchers say the company has made data increasingly difficult to access. And in some cases, the company has actively blocked outsiders from studying its platform, like when it recently disabled the personal Facebook accounts of researchers at New York University and then provided misleading explanations about its reasons for doing so, according to the FTC. (Incidentally, the researcher at the center of that controversy is testifying in a separate Congressional hearing this week.)They may seem like unrelated issues. But if Facebook had better relationships with researchers outside the company, and made more of its own findings public it might be better able to head off internal critics who have some points to make.
The driver allegedly lost control of the truck and later hit a business after whizzing past seven highway traffic lanes. Both the driver and the passenger luckily only sustained minor injuries.
One week after coming to terms with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), Twitch has signed a deal with Warner Music Group. In partnering with the record label, a first for the Amazon-owned platform, the company says Warner Music will launch dedicated channels for some of its artists, including the likes of Bella Poarch and Saweetie. The label will also create a standalone channel that will air original programming from its IMGN production house.Twitch has made a similar deal with Warner Music Group (WMG) to what they made last week with the NMPA. Streamers *cannot* play WMG music on stream. Nothing changes as it relates to playing copyright music you don't have the rights to.#TwitchNewspic.twitter.com/A7bLZXLH0O Zach Bussey (@zachbussey) September 27, 2021But if youre a content creator on Twitch, those are secondary to the other part of the deal. Much like its pact with the NMPA, this isnt a licensing agreement; creators cant include music from WMG artists in their streams. As part of the agreement, WMG has agreed to use the new process Twitch recently put in place to allow rights holders to report content. In an email last week to creators, the company said the new system is more forgiving towards individuals who may have inadvertently played music they werent authorized to use.
Some 23 years after its original run, Babylon 5 is making its way back to TV. According to Variety, The CW has ordered a reboot of the seminal sci-fi series. Whats more, original creator J. Michael Straczynski is attached to the project.Thats good news because Straczynski penned 92 of the 110 episodes that make up Babylon 5. At the moment, there are relatively few details on the production, but what we do know is that its being billed as a from-the-ground-up reboot. None of the original actors from the series, including Bruce Boxleitner, are currently attached to the project, but that may change. With its sometimes dated visuals, it can be hard to see what makes Babylon 5 so special. However, in many ways, it was ahead of its time. It told a serialized story long before shows like The Wire popularized the format.
Skype has some significant changes in the works. It offered a peek at what's coming later this year, with a focus on speed, reliability and design, as well as other improvements. For one thing, video calls (on what Skype calls the "call stage") are getting a visual overhaul. New layouts and themes are on the way. You'll be able to see yourself on the main view while you're on a call, though you can hide your feed if you'd rather not look at your own face.Video feeds are being rearranged into a grid to avoid relegating folks to a minimized view. Instead everyone on the call, including those who aren't sharing video, will be visible. You'll see larger video feeds in the top bar too.SkypeThere are several viewing options for the call stage, including speaker view, grid view, a large gallery and Together Mode (which makes seem like everyone's in the same space). You can also opt only to include people who are sharing video in the grid or switch the video stream off completely. Audio-only participants can use one of the app's background replacement images while on a call, rather than grey nothingness.More colorful themes are in the pipeline, with features including gradients for buttons and for users without avatars. Meanwhile, "the beauty of the left side panel screams art, balance and lightness," says Skype, giving perhaps its best Apple impression.SkypeSkype is also redesigning Meet Now, which allows people to join calls without signing up or installing the app. Invitation links are getting a new look, as invitees will see the name and avatar of your call. The service says it will soon support all browsers as well.In addition, Skype is working on performance. It claims it has boosted performance "in key scenarios" by almost a third on the desktop app and by over 2,000 percent on Android. Also new or on the way are custom notification sounds, and an updated reactions window that lets you respond more quickly by searching or using pinned reactions.Elsewhere, you can use Office Lens on the Skype mobile app to share scanned documents, photos and videos. A new feature called TwinCam will let you add a video feed from a second device to your call. That could be handy if you want to show off your pet, or let students see your textbook and your face at the same time. Just scan a QR code with your iOS or Android device to get started.Skype