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Daily Crunch: Facebook will pay $52M to content moderators

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Facebook strikes a deal to compensate content moderators with PTSD, Tesla might reopen its factory next week and Twitter says some employees can work from home indefinitely.

Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 13, 2020.

1. Facebook to pay $52M to content moderators suffering from PTSD

Facebook employs thousands of content moderators to sift through the vast number of posts, images and other content posted to the site.

The Verge reported Tuesday that the settlement — to which Facebook has agreed “in principle — will cover more than 11,000 content moderators who developed depression, addictions and other mental health issues while they worked moderating content on the social media platform.

2. Alameda County may allow Tesla’s Fremont factory to reopen as soon as next week

The Alameda County Public Health Department may be close to resolving a dispute with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The department released a statement saying, “If Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week.”

3. Twitter says staff can continue working from home permanently

Jack Dorsey recently sent an email notifying employees that they will be able to continue working from home as long as they see fit. The CEO noted that Twitter was an early adopter of a work-from-home model, though — like much of the rest of the world — that push has been accelerated by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

4. Deliveroo criticized over ‘inadequate’ PPE provision and income support for riders risking coronavirus exposure

More than forty U.K. legislators from across the political spectrum have co-signed a letter urging the company to provide all riders with adequate personal protective equipment, given the risks faced to those who continue making deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Adding three more companies to the $100M ARR club

When Alex Wilhelm kicked off his series on private companies that have reached $100 million ARR, he says he didn’t expect it to last. But today’s entry brings the series past the 30-company mark. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Slice, an online ordering and marketing platform for pizzerias, raises $43M

Slice has created a mobile app and website where diners can order a custom pizza delivery from their local, independent pizzeria. And for those pizzerias, CEO Ilir Sela said the startup helps to digitize their whole business by also creating a website, improving their SEO and even allowing them to benefit from the “economies of scale” of the larger network through bulk orders of supplies like pizza boxes.

7. Loon signs deal to expand commercial internet service to Mozambique

Loon has signed a new deal with carrier Vodacom to expand its internet-via-stratospheric-ballon offering to Mozambique. This is the second commercial agreement the Alphabet-owned company has in place in the continent. Mozambique’s close proximity to Kenya — the location of its first deal — means that Loon will be able to use balloons across both markets.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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Kenya labor court rules that Facebook can be sued

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Kenya labor court rules that Facebook can be sued

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A judge in Kenya has ruled that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, can be sued in the East African country.

Meta tried to have the case dropped, arguing that Kenyan courts do not have jurisdiction over their operations, but the labor court judge dismissed that in a ruling on Monday.

A former Facebook moderator in Kenya, Daniel Motaung, is suing the company claiming poor working conditions.

Motaung said that while working as a moderator he was exposed to gruesome content such as rape, torture and beheadings that risked his and colleagues’ mental health.

He said Meta did not offer mental health support to employees, required unreasonably long working hours, and offered minimal pay. Motaung worked in Facebook’s African hub in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, which is operated by Samasource Ltd.

Following the judge’s decision that Meta can be sued in Kenya, the next step in case will be considered by the court on Mar. 8.

Meta is facing a separate court case in which two Ethiopians say hate speech was allowed and even promoted on Facebook amid heated rhetoric over their country’s deadly Tigray conflict.

That lawsuit alleges that Meta hasn’t hired enough content moderators to adequately monitor posts, that it uses an algorithm that prioritizes hateful content, and that it responds more slowly to crises in Africa than elsewhere in the world.

The Associated Press and more than a dozen other media outlets last year reported that Facebook had failed to quickly and effectively moderate hate speech in several places around the world, including in Ethiopia. The reports were based on internal Facebook documents leaked by former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen.

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Mayor Woodards to Present 2023 State of the City Address

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Mayor Woodards to Present 2023 State of the City Address





This year’s theme is “Building Tomorrow Together.”

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Mayor Victoria Woodards will present the 2023 State of the City Address at the Mount Tahoma High School Auditorium (4634 S. 74th St. in Tacoma) on Thursday, March 16, at 6:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Building Tomorrow Together.” Topics covered during her address will include community safety, affordable housing and homelessness, and Tacoma’s ongoing recovery from the global pandemic.

 

Community members wishing to attend this free, public event in person can visit cityoftacoma.org/stateofthecity for additional information and to register. Ample free parking is available at the venue. Event doors open at 5:30 p.m. 

 

There will be American Sign Language interpreters at the State of the City, which will also be available in Spanish, Vietnamese and American Sign Language via Zoom. It will simulcast in Spanish live on VT Radio Universal at vtradiouniversal.com, on TuneIn Radio and on the VT Radio Universal Facebook page.

Follow the State of the City Address Live on TV Tacoma and Facebook

 

Woodards’ remarks can be viewed on TV Tacoma or tvtacoma.com, and on Facebook Live at facebook.com/cityoftacoma.

 

On Rainier Connect, TV Tacoma is available within Tacoma city limits and in Pierce County:



·      

On channel 512 in high definition



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On channel 12 in standard definition



·      

On channel 21 in standard definition in University Place

 

On Comcast, TV Tacoma is available:



·      

On channel 321 in high definition within Tacoma city limits and in Pierce County



·      

On channel 12 in standard definition within Tacoma city limits



·      

On channel 21 in Pierce County



·      

Not available in University Place

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John Carmack Has Some Great Advice About Games Preservation

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John Carmack Has Some Great Advice About Games Preservation

Screenshot: Star Wars | Kotaku

Doom co-creator John Carmack, legendary game designer, rocket guy and VR enthusiast, left Meta/Facebook late last year after a decade working on the company’s virtual reality efforts. Just because he’s gone, though, doesn’t mean the company’s decisions are out of his thoughts.

Accompanying the news last week that Meta had blown through almost $14 billion on failed VR bullshit was the announcement that Echo VR—a game first released on the competing Rift system before its developers were bought by Facebook—would be shutting down.

It was far from the only game to be killed off last week, with Rumbleverse and Knockout City suffering similar fates, their collective departures helping remind us that modern video games have a serious longevity problem, in that once discarded by publishers they’re extremely vulnerable to simply disappearing forever.

It’s a problem that Carmack recently addressed, sending a lengthy statement to UploadVR last week that covers all kinds of angles surrounding Echo VR’s shutdown. The stuff I’m mostly interested in, though, are all the bits about how it’s important for studios to keep old games alive, and that cost and manpower shouldn’t be the only things they’re thinking about when making those decisions.

“Even if there are only ten thousand active users, destroying that user value should be avoided if possible”, he says. “Your company suffers more harm when you take away something dear to a user than you gain in benefit by providing something equally valuable to them or others.”

Of course, his experience with this stuff is largely built on his time at id Software, whose older games—like Doom and Quake—were slightly more popular than some random VR game with only a few thousand users. His basic point is valid though! As he expands on here, with some tips built not just around good PR, but solid development fundamentals as well:

Every game should make sure they still work at some level without central server support. Even when not looking at end of life concerns, being able to work when the internet is down is valuable. If you can support some level of LAN play for a multiplayer game, the door is at least open for people to write proxies in the future. Supporting user-run servers as an option can actually save on hosting costs, and also opens up various community creative avenues.

Be disciplined about your build processes and what you put in your source tree, so there is at least the possibility of making the project open source. Think twice before adding dependencies that you can’t redistribute, and consider testing with stubbed out versions of the things you do use. Don’t do things in your code that wouldn’t be acceptable for the whole world to see. Most of game development is a panicky rush to make things stop falling apart long enough to ship, so it can be hard to dedicated time to fundamental software engineering, but there is a satisfaction to it, and it can pay off with less problematic late stage development.

To its credit, Knockout City—one of the games I mentioned above—is doing exactly this. When its existing version shuts down later this year, a new standalone release will drop that will allow for private servers, in effect letting people keep and play the game until the end of time.

Like Carmack says, there should be more of this, please!

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