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The Top News in Tech – The November digest

With the unanimous agreement that 2023 could be the year for a global recession, the tech industry has reacted accordingly. News of hiring freezes, restructuring, and redundancies have hit the media, with Amazon reportedly planning to cut 10,000 jobs and Lyft laying off 13% of staff company-wide. 

Big Tech news stories dominated the news in November, with Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk keeping Meta and Twitter in the headlines with announcements, layoffs, and controversial behaviour that kept the news cycle rolling. 

The FCC also announced that previously discussed laws around banning Chinese telecoms equipment have now come into action, and a report from Amdocs reveals the generational differences in viewing the World Cup. Let’s examine this, and the other November news stories that caught and kept our attention. 

Meta’s first mass layoff in 18 years 

If you wanted an indication of the impact of the impending recession and Big Tech’s boom coming to an end, Meta has had its first mass layoff since its conception almost 20 years ago. 

Last month, the arrival of legs in the Metaverse was not enough to keep Meta firmly on its feet, as Mark Zuckerberg had to issue an apology to the 13% of staff he was forced to lay off on November 9th. Zuckerberg took ownership of Meta’s downturn, claiming that his workforce of 87,000 was overstaffed as a result of his over-optimism on growth. 

Recruitment and business teams were mentioned as the groups that would see layoffs, however, contract workers at Meta’s campus are now expressing concern that they could be next. Those in roles of security, cleaning, transportation, and food are worried that with 11,000 fewer workers, there is a reduced requirement for their services. With Meta already looking to cut costs by reducing spending on buildings and increasing desk-sharing, it’s possible the cost-saving measures could need to go to even greater lengths. 

The impact of Meta’s layoffs is yet to truly be seen. But with Zuckerberg having invested billions in his vision for the Metaverse and now having been forced to fire staff, he can only hope that his gamble on virtual worlds will pay off eventually.

Secure Equipment Act Officially implemented 

In 2021 the Biden administration signed the Secure Equipment Act into Law. It stated that the FCC bans equipment that comes from Chinese telecommunications as well as video surveillance equipment that could be deemed to pose a threat to national security. 

The newly-implemented law affects Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications, and Dahua Technology. The FCC will now no longer authorise licenses for electronic products or services from those companies, including the sale of handsets, network equipment, routers and switches. 

With the U.S. accounting for 4.6% of Huawei’s sales, it is unlikely that the new legislation will cripple their finances, however, the move is being viewed as largely symbolic and could influence the introduction of further restrictions. 

The U.S. is not the only country introducing restrictions on Chinese-made technology as the UK government banned the use of surveillance equipment from companies such as Hikvision and Dahua, whose cameras are widely installed outside government buildings. Reportedly, the concern derives from the fact that the equipment in the UK must support China’s national intelligence network, in accordance with China’s National Intelligence Law 2017.

Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover 

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter in October saw him dismiss management, dissolve the board, and lay off around 50% of staff. 

Musk already caused chaos once in November with his decision to implement paid verification for users at an $8 price tag. Following several celebrity impersonations and pharmaceutical stock dives as a result of a fake Tweet, Musk backtracked on his plan and has now decided to introduce gold and grey-coloured checkmarks for governments and companies. 

Now Musk has gone on to create a free speech debate with his latest decision to allow previously banned figures back onto the platform in hope of making Twitter an “internet town square”. In addition to allowing controversial figures Donald Trump, Andrew Tate, Jordan Peterson, and Kanye West back onto the platform, Musk also declared a “general amnesty” for suspended Twitter accounts as long as they have not broken the law or engaged in spam. 

However, seeing the potential for dispute, advertisers have pulled out of Twitter, with 50 of the top 100 advertisers withdrawing spending or removing themselves from the site entirely. 

With a reduced workforce and ambitious changes being made to the platform, the media will continue to closely watch Musk navigate his way through his Twitter takeover.

World Cup viewing expectations 

In lighter news, client Amdocs issued a report on the viewer’s expectations of the World Cup. The report revealed various findings, including the fact that 73% of viewers plan to watch on live public TV while 44% of millennials and 27% of Gen-Z plan to stream games online.

Viewers remained confident about their home connectivity, with 78% confirming their faith in their network to support their viewing experience. However, when viewing outside of their homes, their faith in mobile networks dropped to 57%. Hence the reason 48% of world cup viewers confirmed that they would be willing to pay for an unlimited World Cup mobile data package in order to stream matches with 5G! 

In news that would please Zuckerberg, the report showed that viewers are willing to engage with the Metaverse as 62% of viewers said they would view football as part of a virtual stadium. 

As the World Cup draws to a close this month, we’ll wait to see how viewers feel when they reflect upon their viewing experience. 

With our November news digest covering big tech news, telecoms policy and the viewing expectations of the World Cup, we’re looking forward to seeing what the news in December will bring us. Check back in next month for our latest instalment of the top news in tech stories. 

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