Hashtag Trending March 3 – Biden pushes for child safety laws on social media; Amazon employees ask for higher pay; Apple halts product sales to Russia

U.S. president asks for new child safety laws on social media platforms, Amazon store employees push for higher pay and more benefits, and Apple stops selling products to Russia.

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That’s all the tech news that’s Trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, March 3, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

During his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden asked Congress to create new laws to increase child safety on social platforms like TikTok and Facebook. According to Engadget, to get started on implementing those changes, the White House will have to specifically ask for funding to study the question of child safety on social media. Biden also plans on requesting $5 million in the budget next year to research the mental health impact of social media, while also launching a “National Center of Excellence on Social Media and Mental Illness.” This push most likely comes after the 2021 revelations of how Facebook affects the safety of children and teens.

Employees behind the first union push at an Amazon store have asked for higher pay, a more flexible attendance policy and longer breaks as well as other benefits. The workers are also calling on a federal labour board to find out whether the company violated labour laws by removing pro-union literature from a break room and disciplining the employee who put it there. Employees at the Amazon store in Seattle are asking for a $25 starting wage and more training on diversity issues, sexual harassment and discrimination. Three Amazon warehouses in the U.S. are also in the midst of unionization campaigns, with votes at warehouses in Alabama and New York scheduled to end at the end of March, reports Business Insider.

Apple has become the latest major firm to stop all product sales in Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Apple said it was “deeply concerned” about Russia’s invasion and stands with those suffering. Services such as Apple Pay and Apple Maps have also been limited, the BBC said. Mobile banking apps in Russia, such as the VTB Bank’s app, may stop functioning fully on devices using Apple’s iOS operating system. Last week, Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister wrote to Apple on Twitter asking Apple to cut Russia off from its products, services, and App Store.

And now for something a bit different. Justine Haupt, an American space engineer from Eastern Long Island has built her own, one-of-a-kind cell phone with a rotary dial because she hates smartphones and texting. In a YouTube video, she says she was sick of the other phone options and realized she could design her own and include any feature she wants. She says she dislikes the user interface on touchscreen smartphones and wanted something that would be a functional phone and “entirely” hers. Haupt’s phone is only able to make and receive calls and has a built-in contact list. She said she can make phone calls quickly and the rotary dial is mainly used to navigate the menu or add new phone numbers to the phone. How do you feel about a rotary phone in 2022? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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