As the US economy slows, several IT companies that flourished during the pandemic are now facing a downturn, scaling back, layoffs, and retracting job offers.
On Tuesday, the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced a headcount reduction of 18 percent, or approximately 1,100 employees, with CEO Brian Armstrong warning that “we appear to be entering a recession after a 10-plus year economic boom.” He went on to say that the publicly traded company, which has a market capitalization of more than $13 billion, “grew too quickly” in 2021 as it scaled up to capitalize on the crypto frenzy.
The downturn is harming a wide spectrum of businesses. Coinbase’s layoffs come only one day after BlockFi, another cryptocurrency business revealed it was laying off about 250 staff. OneTrust, a marketing company, laid off 950 staff last week, while Stitch Fix laid off 330 and ID.me fired 130. Bird, a transportation provider, laid off a comparable amount of employees, while PolicyGenius laid off 170. And this is only in the last two weeks.
“Those companies are suffering right now,” CBS News technology reporter Dan Patterson said. Many tech players are consolidating now after staffing up during the pandemic, he added.
According to Layoffs.fyi, which records job cutbacks in the industry, tech companies globally have let off a total of 35,000 workers so far this year. Many more are abruptly changing their recruiting plans, particularly previously fast-growing cryptocurrency firms.
“A lot of these companies have not only stopped hiring — they’ve rescinded job offers,” Patterson pointed out.
Coinbase revoked employment offers from approximately 300 potential candidates earlier this month, according to Vice reporting, which detailed one now-unemployed tech worker losing a “life-changing” $300,000 job offer.
With the value of bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular currencies plummeting, firms in the risky cryptocurrency area are leading the charge in layoffs. However, the tech decline is widespread: the Nasdaq composite index has lost 30% of its value since January, the largest drop in the tech-heavy stock index since 2007 when it dropped 48%.
Even established tech sector titans are feeling the effects of this. Meta and Twitter have stalled or halted hiring plans, whilst Netflix, Peloton, and Robinhood have laid-off employees.
“Many technology startups that saw tremendous growth in 2020, particularly in the real estate, financial, and delivery sectors, are beginning to see a slowdown in users,” Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement. Concerns about rising interest rates and inflation are driving many of them “to cut costs and shore up capital,” he explained.
According to Challenger, layoffs at IT companies “exploded” last month. According to the corporation, employment cuts in technology were ten times higher in May than in the first four months of the year.
Tech firms are frequently regarded as economic barometers. Investors in technology must have a high-risk tolerance because these firms can take a long time to make a return. When the economy is booming, these investors are generally ready to sacrifice profitability for growth; but, this equation shifts when borrowing becomes more expensive — for example, when interest rates rise — or when the economy appears to be deteriorating.
The latest tech meltdown is being compared to the late-90s dot-com boom, which saw the Nasdaq lose two-thirds of its value between November 1999 and May 2002. Scott Miners, chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners, warned that the technology index might decline by up to 75% over the next few years. Legendary value investor Jeremy Grantham predicted a 40% loss in the broad S&P 500 index.
“A lot of companies probably will disappear,” Credit Suisse chairman Axel Lehmann said last month at a CNBC event.
Meta Is Fined $275 Million By The Irish Data Privacy Authorities
In a data breach that occurred in 2019, Meta was issued a fine of approximately $275 million by Ireland’s data privacy commission for its failure to prevent hackers from stealing the personal information of more than 500 million Facebook users.
The announcement made on Monday marked the fourth time in about a year that Facebook (FBparent )’s corporation had been punished by the Irish Data Protection Commission. The Irish Data Protection Commission is the major privacy regulator monitoring Meta’s operations in Europe. According to the commission’s statement, the decision to issue the fine was reached on Friday of last week.
Meta has been hit with fines totaling 912 million euros by the Data Protection Commission of Ireland (DPC) since the fall of 2021. The DPC is pursuing the social media giant and its other subsidiaries, Instagram and WhatsApp, for alleged violations of the General Data Protection Regulation, which is Europe’s signature data privacy law (GDPR).
In the early fall of this year, Meta was handed the second-largest GDPR fine in history, which was for the way in which Instagram handled the data of children. The fine was 405 million euros. Additional enforcement procedures, which took place in March 2022 and September 2021, respectively, resulted in the imposition of fines totaling 17 million and 225 million euros.
A representative for Meta issued a statement on Monday stating that the company was “seriously” analyzing the decision made by the DPC and that it had cooperated fully with the investigation being conducted by the agency. The investigation was kicked out in April of last year after it was reported by Business Insider that the personal information of more than half a billion Facebook users had been published on a hacker website. At the time, Facebook stated that hostile actors had used its contact importer tool in order to match known phone numbers to the accounts of Facebook users before extracting more information from their profiles. According to a statement released by Meta on Monday, “Protecting the privacy and security of people’s data is crucial to how our business works.” [Citation needed] “During the time in question, we implemented a number of changes to our systems, one of which was the removal of the capability to scrape our features in this manner by using phone numbers. The scraping of data without authorization is against both our policy and our terms of service, and we will continue to collaborate with our competitors to find a solution to this industry problem.
This judgment was made by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner in the midst of widespread criticism from privacy activists who claim that regulators have proceeded slowly and tentatively to enforce GDPR, which became law in 2018.
Privacy regulators in Luxembourg issued a punishment of 746 million euros to e-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN) in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) last year. They did so on the grounds that the manner in which Amazon processes personal data is in violation of the law. Amazon (AMZN) is attempting to get the penalty overturned.
Musk Alleges Apple “Threatening To Withhold” Twitter From Its App Store
Elon Musk said that Apple has “threatened” to remove Twitter from its iOS app store, which might devastate the $44 billion firm he acquired.
Musk tweeted Monday that Apple (AAPL) and its CEO had threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store without explaining why.
Musk tweeted that Apple had basically discontinued Twitter advertising. “Do they detest free speech in America?” he asked, referring to his repeated calls for platform free speech. “What’s up, Tim Cook?” Musk tweeted again. He also blasted Apple’s scale, “restriction,” and 30% transaction fee for large app creators in its app store.
Musk’s tweetstorm emphasizes his tense relationship with Apple, which along with Google controls mobile app distribution. Before taking over Twitter, the Tesla CEO stated he explored selling the firm to Apple, but Cook refused to meet with him. Twitter, which has lost advertisers since Musk’s takeover and struggled to grow its subscription business, would suffer if it were removed from Apple’s or Google’s app stores.
Musk’s tweets were unanswered by Apple. The business has already indicated it’s willing to delete apps from its app store over worries about their ability to filter dangerous content or if they attempt to evade the cut Apple takes from in-app sales and subscriptions. After the US Capitol attack, Apple withdrew Parler, a conservative app, from its app store over concerns about its capacity to recognize and filter hate speech and incitement. After improving its content moderation, Apple reinstated Parler three months later.
Apple’s app store review criteria require apps to prevent “material that is unpleasant, insensitive, distressing, intended to disgust, in extraordinarily poor taste, or just plain creepy” such hate speech, pornography, and terrorism. The guidelines declare that the App Store is not the place for apps that shock and offend.
After extensive layoffs and large employee departures, civil society groups, researchers, and industry watchers have voiced worries about Twitter’s ability to monitor dangerous content and keep the network safe. Musk also wants to promote “free expression” on Twitter by restoring banned or suspended accounts. Musk has tweeted a conspiracy theory and other controversial messages since taking over Twitter.
Since becoming CEO, Musk, a prolific and aggressive tweeter, has continued. He claims engagement has compensated for revenue losses. The objective appears to be persistently targeting enemies of his or “free speech.” Cook was questioned in an interview earlier this month if Twitter might alter to make Apple remove it from the app store. “They say they’ll moderate and so… “I trust them,” Cook said. Because no one wants hate speech on their platform. I expect them to continue.”
Last week, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, who departed the business earlier this month, wrote in the New York Times that app store operators had started calling Twitter after Musk’s takeover. Roth called violating Google and Apple’s app store guidelines “catastrophic.”
Last Sunday, Apple app store boss Phil Schiller canceled his Twitter account.
Apple ran Black Friday adverts on Twitter on Thursday, though their relationship is unclear.
As the economy has weakened, many corporations have cut digital ad expenditure, and Twitter has likely always been a modest part of Apple’s budget. If Musk succeeds in converting Twitter’s core business to subscription revenue and needs to give Apple a 30% cut, Apple’s impact on Twitter may be considerably greater.
Musk tweeted, “Apple charges a concealed 30% tax on anything you buy through their App Store?” In another tweet, he showed a motorway exit with two lanes: “pay 30%” and “go to war.” Elon’s ancient automobile slid toward him.
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Returning Disney CEO Bob Iger Outlines His Objectives
After shocking the media industry with his return as CEO of Disney the previous week, Bob Iger visited the company’s headquarters on Monday to speak with employees for the very first time since making the announcement.
Iger addressed a variety of concerns that have been raised about the corporation, including the current hiring moratorium at Disney and the areas of concentration for the Disney+ streaming service that he has in mind. In addition to this, he emphasized that the most important thing for him to focus on as he regains control is creativity.
During a town hall meeting held at the company’s headquarters in Burbank, California, Iger informed staff that Disney’s hiring freeze would continue to be in effect – at least for the time being. His predecessor, Bob Chapek, made the announcement of the hiring freeze at the beginning of this month. Iger took over as CEO of Disney after Chapek, whose time in that role was brief but fraught with conflict. Iger has stated that maintaining the freeze is the “sensible thing to do” in light of the issues that are now facing the corporation. When addressing Disney’s overall “cost structure,” he also said that the length of time the employment freeze will be in effect will be a consideration for him.
The announcement of Iger’s return comes at a time when Disney is facing a great deal of hardship and criticism across its entire media empire. Disney is currently facing challenges in both the film and television industries. This includes a share price that has remained flat during the entire year as well as a streaming business that is expanding but is still losing money. Iger stated that when he departed the firm a year ago, Disney’s performance in streaming was being judged by a variety of criteria; nonetheless, growth was the primary element being considered. Since then, the emphasis has switched to “the bottom line” and “how much we are losing and when we will be profitable,” according to Iger’s statement.
He stated that the corporation should begin “chasing profitability” rather than “chasing subs with aggressive marketing and aggressive spend on content.” He stated that in order for Disney to accomplish this goal, the company must do a “very, very serious look” at the cost structure of all of its companies. However, Iger emphasized that “creativity” should be the primary focus of the corporation, as the returning CEO already stated that this endeavor will be his top priority.
Iger was asked about Disney’s creative muscle, and he responded by saying, “A number of you who worked with me know I’m obsessed with that.” “However, there is a logic behind my fixation on that. It is the engine that keeps the business going.
Iger stated that the quantity of content that Disney develops is not as important as the “greatness of the things that we do make.”
Iger wasted no time in making his stamp on the corporation and did so immediately. Soon after it was announced that he would be taking over as CEO, he reorganized Disney’s content distribution structure and announced that Kareem Daniel, chairman of the company’s Media and Entertainment Distribution unit, would be leaving Disney. Kareem Daniel had been the person responsible for overseeing the distribution of Disney’s content.
Iger tweeted a picture of Disney’s offices early on Monday morning, which was his first day back on the Walt Disney Studio lot. He captioned the image with the phrase “full with gratitude and delight to be back.”
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