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10 things in tech you need to know today

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/8/2021 jerb@insider.com (Jordan Parker Erb)

Hello, world. AWS had a major outage yesterday, and the head of Instagram unveiled new child-protection features ahead of his testimony before Congress today.

Let's get started. 

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LISBON, PORTUGAL - 2021/11/02: AWS, Amazon Web Services logo exhibition zone, seen during day two of the Web Summit in Lisbon. This is one of the largest technology conferences in the world and also a meeting point for the debate on technological evolution in people's lives. This year, around 40.000 participants are expected to attend the Web Summit which runs from 1st-4th November at Parque das Nacoes in Lisbon Sopa Images © Sopa Images LISBON, PORTUGAL - 2021/11/02: AWS, Amazon Web Services logo exhibition zone, seen during day two of the Web Summit in Lisbon. This is one of the largest technology conferences in the world and also a meeting point for the debate on technological evolution in people's lives. This year, around 40.000 participants are expected to attend the Web Summit which runs from 1st-4th November at Parque das Nacoes in Lisbon Sopa Images

1. Amazon Web Services suffered a major outage yesterday. Amazon's web-hosting subsidiary, AWS, went down yesterday — and took popular services like Netflix, Tinder, and Roku down with it. Here's what we know about the outage so far:

  • It's one of the largest disruptions in the company's history, and an internal AWS analysis points to a sudden increase in traffic as the culprit.
  • It knocked Ring doorbells, baby monitors, and Alexa products offline — and people weren't thrilled: "Eek, just in time for my newly-in-beds triplet toddlers' nap," one user said. See what else people are saying.
  • It affected Amazon's delivery operation, shutting down the software that dictates which packages go in what van. With the routing software offline, West Coast drivers were unable to start deliveries, and many were sent home by 1 p.m. PT. One day off has the potential to create an epic logjam — just 18 days before Christmas.
  • Workers were "bored stiff" as warehouses and delivery services were brought to a standstill. Here's what employees told us about their day.

In other news:

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images © KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images

2. Instagram announced new child-protection features. In a blog post, Instagram head Adam Mosseri outlined new actions the company will take to protect kids, including allowing parents to see how much time their teens spend on the app and setting time limits, as well as a new "Take a Break" feature. More on that here.


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3. Spring Health CEO April Koh says she's focused on harmonizing growth with mental health. Spring Health employees told us Koh's hard-driving approach led to a pressure-cooker environment and pushed dozens to quit. Now, the CEO says she's changing her approach to leadership. Here's what she said.

4. Over 200 newspapers are suing Google and Facebook. According to Axios, papers across the country have filed antitrust lawsuits against the Big Tech companies, claiming they monopolized ad revenue that would have otherwise gone to local news. Get the full rundown here.

5. Better's top marketing, PR, and communications execs resigned. After CEO Vishal Garg fired 900 employees over Zoom and accused hundreds of them of "stealing," three of the company's top execs have left the firm. What we know about their departures so far. Plus, you can read an internal note Garg sent apologizing to staff.

6. Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly struck a $275 billion deal with China to ease a crackdown on its business there. The deal, signed in 2016, was intended to placate Chinese government officials who believed Apple wasn't doing enough for the country's economy, The Information reports. Here's what else you need to know.

7. Micro VCs are on the rise. Two former Blossom and Speedinvest partners are joining the trend in Europe by launching a new fund, Cocoa, targeting at least $15 million. More on the rise of micro VCs.

8. Hundreds of scientists want access to Meta's internal research on kids' mental health. More than 300 scientists penned an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, asking to investigate the platform's effects on teens and saying the company's studies aren't thorough enough. See what the letter says.

9. Safety app Life360 is reportedly selling the precise location data of millions of people. The app, popular among parents who want to see their kids' location, sells data to dozens of brokers without certain privacy precautions, employees said. Here's what you need to know.

10. Elon Musk said Neuralink hopes to start implanting brain chips in humans in 2022. Neuralink, Musk's brain-interface technology company, will first give the chips to people with severe spinal cord injuries, he said. Here's what else he said about the chips.

What we're watching today:

  • Instagram head Adam Mosseri will testify in a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on young Instagram users at 2:30 p.m. ET. Watch the livestream here.
  • Cryptocurrency CEOs are set to testify to the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. ET. Watch the livestream here.
  • A Russian rocket is expected to launch space tourist Yusaku Maezawa to the International Space Station.
  • Earnings are expected from GameStop, Rent the Runway, and more. Keep up with earnings here.

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Michael Cogley in London.

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