Top Stories

February 18, 2022


Twitter expands protections against trolling and hate

Social network giant Twitter plans to expand its ‘Safety Mode’ feature, which lets users temporarily block accounts that send harmful or abusive tweets. The system will flag accounts using hateful remarks, or those bombarding people with uninvited comments and block them for seven days. Half of the platform’s users in the UK, US, Canada Australia, New Zealand and Ireland will now have access to the feature alongside a companion feature called ‘Proactive Safety Mode’. This will proactively identify potentially harmful replies and prompt people to consider enabling the mode. Twitter said it added this feature based on feedback from some users in its initial trial. The Safety Mode feature can be turned on in settings and assess both the tweet’s content and the relationship between the tweet author and replier. (BBC News)


US Justice Dept. takes on violation of supply chain issues

The US Justice Department is launching a new initiative aimed at identifying companies that exploit supply chain disruptions in the country to make increased profits in violation of federal antitrust laws. The programme – in collaboration with the FBI – will prosecute antitrust violations such as agreements between individuals and businesses to fix prices or wages or to rig bids. The US government has also formed a working group focused on supply chain collusion – meant to share intelligence and detect global schemes – with officials in several other countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. A spokesperson from the department’s antitrust division said, “temporary supply chain disruptions” and labour shortages that have plagued retailers since the  start of the pandemic “should not be allowed to conceal illegal conduct”. (The Independent)


Virgin Group to use low-carbon fuel from plastic waste

Multinational conglomerate Virgin Group has announced plans to source lower-carbon fuel made from plastic waste for future flights. The group, which owns Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Orbit, has partnered with technology firm Agilyx on the project. The partnership is aiming to research and develop lower carbon fuel facilities to help address plastic pollution and the global transition to net-zero. The partners will develop a pioneering plastic-to-fuel manufacturing site in the US, with potential plans for another in the UK to follow. Agilyx specialises in chemical conversion technology and is hoping to use plastics destined for landfill to create crude oil, from which lower-carbon fuel can be made. The move is part of Virgin’s wider company goal of reaching net-zero by 2050. (The Independent)


Electric car chargers ‘spread too unequally across UK’

A UK car lobby group the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned of a “growing regional divide” in the provision of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. SMMT has called on the UK government to oversee legally binding targets for charger installation, arguing that charging points are failing to keep up with the accelerating demand for battery-powered EVs, particularly in the north of England. While public charging points rose by 82% between 2019 and 2021, the number of EVs on UK roads increased 600% during the same period. With a regional disparity limiting charging access, the industry is concerned that households will be put off buying EVs without adequate charging infrastructure to justify it. One-third of UK households lack private parking spaces, making public charging points a necessity. (The Guardian)


Apple CEO faces shareholder revolt over $99m pay

A powerful investors’ advisory group has called for shareholders to vote against the $99 million pay package awarded to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook last year. Advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) wrote in a letter to shareholders of its “significant concerns regarding the design and magnitude of the equity award” made to Cook in 2021, adding that half of the award “lacks performance criteria”. ISS made the recommendation in advance Apple’s shareholders meeting next month. In 2021, Cook received $3 million in salary, and $82.3 million in stock awards, $12 million for hitting targets, and another $1.4 million for air travel, retirement plan contributions, insurance premiums and other contributions. His total remuneration package was worth $98.7 million, compared with $14.8 million a year earlier. (The Guardian)



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