Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.
- Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates said it’s hard to deny vaccine conspiracy theories involving him because they’re ‘so stupid.’ Misinformation has been circulating in recent weeks falsely claiming that Gates is behind a plot to use vaccines to implant microchips in people.
- LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky apologized on Thursday after employees anonymously made “appalling” comments criticising the company’s efforts to diversify its workforce during a global town hall meeting to discuss racial inequity and biases earlier this week. During the meeting, first reported by the Daily Beast, staffers criticised the protests and LinkedIn’s efforts to diversity its workforce by posting anonymous messages into the event’s chat window.
- Another SoftBank-backed startup has laid off staff thanks to a slowdown in business. Software startup Builder.ai has made 39 staff redundant as the pandemic continues to hit business.
- Buzzy challenger bank Monzo is to lay off 80 staff as it restructures its business, according to leaked messages obtained by Business Insider. Monzo, a darling among financial startups, has taken a big hit to its revenue through the pandemic and will make a portion of its staff redundant.
- Google is to shake up its Search and Maps leadership, with company veterans shifting to new roles. Google head of Search Ben Gomes is transitioning to a different role at the company while Jen Fitzpatrick, who heads up Google’s Maps business, is also moving to a new role overseeing Google’s Core and Corp engine teams.
- A Twitter user was suspended for ‘glorifying violence’ after posting exactly what Donald Trump tweets. The account @suspendthepres launched May 29, and started to post tweets identical to those sent on Trump’s Twitter.
- Slack will boost its spending on AWS to $425 million and Amazon employees will be able to start using Slack as the two companies deepen their partnership. Amazon Web Services and Slack are partnering to use Amazon infrastructure for Slack tools.
- Tim Cook published an open letter on racism after he was called out for not speaking up publicly amid protests over George Floyd’s death. In the letter, Cook describes a history of “deeply rooted discrimination” in America and says we must do more to “guarantee freedom from fear” for every person.
- Black founders in the UK have shared their experience of everyday racism while growing up, fundraising, and building a business. The six founders noted that little venture capital goes to black founders, while tech continues to lack diversity as an industry.
- Zynga, once written off as the flailing creator of “FarmVille”, has undergone a successful turnaround. The company announced a $1.8 billion acquisition of Turkish gaming company Peak during the pandemic, and has seen a big boost in downloads as users under lockdown turn back to its games.
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