Shannon Bond | KERA News

Shannon Bond

Shannon Bond is a business correspondent at NPR, covering technology and how Silicon Valley's biggest companies are transforming how we live, work and communicate.

Bond joined NPR in September 2019. She previously spent 11 years as a reporter and editor at the Financial Times in New York and San Francisco. At the FT, she covered subjects ranging from the media, beverage and tobacco industries to the Occupy Wall Street protests, student debt, New York City politics and emerging markets. She also co-hosted the FT's award-winning podcast, Alphachat, about business and economics.

Bond has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School and a bachelor's degree in psychology and religion from Columbia University. She grew up in Washington, D.C., but is enjoying life as a transplant to the West Coast.

Uber is buying the delivery app Postmates, bolstering its food-delivery business at a time when few people are hailing rides.

The $2.65 billion all-stock deal is a sign of how Uber's business model has been turned upside down as customers have stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A Black Facebook employee is accusing his employer of racial discrimination.

In a complaint filed Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oscar Veneszee Jr. said the social network does not give Black workers equal opportunities in their careers.

When the Stop Hate for Profit campaign launched just two weeks ago, its organizers had not yet persuaded a single advertiser to boycott Facebook in July.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

Facebook will put warning labels on posts that break its rules but are considered newsworthy, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Friday. The new policy marks a reversal for Zuckerberg and comes as more brands pledge to stop advertising on the social network until it does more to curb hate speech and harmful content.

Joe Biden is demanding that Facebook crack down on false information, including from President Trump, adding his voice to escalating criticism over the social network's hands-off approach to political speech.

Congressional Democrats and two influential Washington think tanks this week joined the mounting criticism of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for doing nothing about President Trump's most inflammatory post on the recent protests over police brutality and racism.

Uber is seeing signs of recovery as cities, states and countries lift lockdown restrictions and businesses reopen, according to one of the ride-hailing company's top executives.

Commuters are the first people returning to Uber as businesses reopen, Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president of mobility and business operations, told NPR in an interview.

"Morning and evening rush hour are the parts of the business that have come back first, and then you tend to see the social hours start to come back after that," he said.

LinkedIn's CEO has apologized to staff after anonymous employees made "appalling comments" about racism and diversity during a companywide meeting.

"We are not and will not be a company or platform where racism or hateful speech is allowed," Ryan Roslansky wrote in an email to staff that was also posted on LinkedIn. Roslansky took over as CEO of the professional networking company this week.

Some of Facebook's earliest employees are condemning CEO Mark Zuckerberg's hands-off approach to President Trump's inflammatory rhetoric about protests over police brutality.

Updated at 10:52 p.m. ET

Facebook is facing an unusually public backlash from its employees over the company's handling of President Trump's inflammatory posts about protests in the police killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis.

At least a dozen employees, some in senior positions, have openly condemned Facebook's lack of action on the president's posts and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's defense of that decision. Some employees staged a virtual walkout Monday.

Updated on June 9 at 2:40p.m. ET

Kim Timko used to rely on Rent the Runway for dresses for weddings and parties, outfits for date nights, and professional clothes for her job as a lawyer in New York. She said the clothing-rental service is "a nice way to have expensive clothes without having to buy."

But weddings have been postponed, parties canceled, and Timko is working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Like many others, she has put her Rent the Runway subscription on hold. She may even cancel it.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he expects half of the tech giant's 48,000 employees to be working remotely in the next five to 10 years as part of a major shift in how the company operates.

The company plans to begin "aggressively" hiring remote workers, and it will soon allow some current employees to apply to work remotely on a permanent basis, the CEO said in a livestreamed meeting with staff Thursday.

Facebook is making a big push into online shopping by letting businesses set up free storefronts on its social network and Instagram.

Businesses can feature items in their shops, advertise them to users, and communicate with customers through the company's messaging services. Shops will eventually be integrated across Facebook's apps, including WhatsApp and Messenger.

Music is jazz composer Michael O'Dell's passion, but it doesn't pay the bills. So he drives for Lyft and Uber in Columbus, Ohio.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, demand for rides has fallen so much, he says, that on many days he can't get enough business to make it worth getting in the car.

Uber is laying off another 3,000 employees as it tries to weather the damage to its business from the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs come less than two weeks after the company cut 3,700 jobs and said it would eliminate $1 billion in costs this year.

When Vern Dosch heard that Apple and Google had teamed up to develop smartphone technology to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, he was excited.

The last time you were in your office, who did you walk past in the lobby? Stand next to in the elevator? Chat with in the kitchen?

You're not alone if you can't remember each of those encounters. But that is exactly the sort of information employers want to have on hand, in case an employee catches the coronavirus.

Uber is cutting 3,700 jobs — about 14% of its corporate workforce — as demand for ride-hailing has dried up during the coronavirus pandemic.

The layoffs affect people who do customer support and recruiting, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees in an email seen by NPR. He said work for those departments had dried up as trip volumes dropped "significantly" and the company instituted a hiring freeze.

"Days like this are brutal," he wrote.

The state of California is suing Uber and Lyft for classifying their drivers as contractors instead of employees. The lawsuit is the first major test of a new state law intended to give gig workers more labor protections, including access to employer-sponsored health insurance.

Lyft is laying off 982 employees — 17% of its workforce — as it tries to reduce costs amid plummeting demand for rides. It is furloughing hundreds more workers, and cutting pay.

For grocery delivery worker Willy Solis, the last straw came when the app Shipt changed his pay — in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

It wasn't the first time that Shipt, owned by Target, had tinkered with that formula. Solis had complained about smaller paychecks and lack of pay transparency. But now he and others like him were putting their health on the line to do their work. Solis decided he had to take action. From his home in Denton, Texas, he logged on to Facebook and started organizing a nationwide walkout.

Facebook is rolling out a video-call competitor to Zoom, aimed at groups of up to 50 people.

The new feature, called Messenger Rooms, allows anyone with a Facebook account to create a video meeting and invite their friends to join, even if those people are not Facebook users.

Video conferencing has become a staple for many people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. It's how they keep up with work, school, family, friends and activities.

Jerome Gage is one of those rare Lyft drivers still on the road these days, mask securely in place. He says that surprises some passengers.

"It's kind of like the cliché of a Christmas shopper going into Macy's at like 3 a.m. on Black Friday and saying, 'Wow, they have you working?' " he said. "Yeah, I'm working because people need us. They don't want to rely on public transportation.''

Many Lyft and Uber drivers have given up on driving, because they aren't making enough money to take the risk of potentially exposing themselves to the virus.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Dennis Johnson was just trying to defend his dissertation — the last step in getting his doctorate in education — in front of a virtual audience of friends and family.

Instead, he became the face of "Zoombombing," a new form of online harassment, when an unknown intruder interrupted his Zoom video conference by drawing genitalia and writing racial slurs on screen.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Facebook is canceling gatherings of more than 50 people through June 2021 and taking a slow approach to letting employees return to the office, as the social network looks toward the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Guidance from health experts is that it won't be advisable to have large groups of people get together for a while," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday. He said some of the events that Facebook had planned will be moved online.

In a new move to stop the spread of dangerous and false information about the coronavirus, Facebook will start telling people when they've interacted with posts about bogus cures, hoaxes and other false claims.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Tech giants Apple and Google are teaming up to create a system that would let smartphone users know when they've come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.

The technology would rely on the Bluetooth signals that smartphones can both send out and receive. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they could notify public health authorities through an app. Those public health apps would then alert anyone whose smartphones had come near the infected person's phone in the prior 14 days.

Pages