Good evening! Here is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.
1. Apple has hired the former director of Amazon Fire TV to save its own struggling Apple TV unit. Timothy D. Twerdahl will oversee product marketing at Apple after almost four years with Amazon and stints at Roku and Netflix.
2. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google contributed cash and services to President Trump’s inauguration, before the furor around his immigration ban. Microsoft quietly donated $250,000 while Amazon and Google gave undisclosed amounts.
3. Twitter is to hide abusive tweets and prevent banned users from creating new accounts in a crackdown on online harassment. The changes come after continued criticism that the company hasn’t done enough to tackle abuse.
4. Facebook has said there’s no easy way it can detect and prevent online racism. Company lawyer Martin Munz made the comments during a case brought by Syrian refugee Anas Modamani, who is suing Facebook after fake news producers began associating him with terrorism.
5. Carl Bass, the long-serving CEO of Autodesk, has stepped down. In an exit interview, Bass took the opportunity to blast President Trump, saying he was acting somewhere between “a dictator and a small business owner.”
6. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has blasted reports suggesting the company’s about to build supermarkets and staff them primarily with robots. Bezos attacked the original story from the New York Post on Twitter, saying the publication’s sources had “mixed up their meds.”
7. Facebook has doubled bereavement leave to 20 days for employees because, according to COO Sheryl Sandberg, America’s families “deserve support.” Sandberg herself lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, in May 2015 and said she had been grateful for Facebook’s flexibility.
8. Foreigners working in Silicon Valley are now so afraid of the US government’s immigrant ban that they have stopped buying houses. An Indian pair of software engineers withdrew from a sale in San Francisco, citing worries that they wouldn’t be permitted to travel freely, even though India is not on the ban list.
9. Ireland’s data commissioner has challenged Facebook on whether transferring data from Europe to the US breaches users’ privacy. The case kicked off at the Irish High Court on Tuesday and is expected to continue for the next three weeks.
10. Twitter’s head of diversity, Jeffrey Siminoff, is the latest exec to leave the company. Siminoff leaves after two years, and his departure coincides with that of chief human resources officer Renee Atwood.