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Last Week Online #59 – Updated antivirus still software won't defeat Corvid-19

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
3 min read

Google and Microsoft are trying to make lemonade from coronavirus outbreak.

Corona forces people to work from home, Google and Microsoft are happily showing off their solutions

Many of the tech companies are trying to get some easy points during Corona chaos. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are trying to make sure users find legitimate information on their platforms. Facebook also decided to ban all ads for medical face masks, to limit the possibility for people to profit from the global health crisis.

However, Google and Microsoft have a slightly different approach to "helping out". With many people now being required to work or study from home, Google decided to give away "advanced" streaming tools to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally until July 1st. This offer means organisations can now host meetings with up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100 000 viewers, and record and save sessions to Google Drive. Usually, there's a cost between $13 per user per month for these features on top of $12 for regular G Suite access. Microsoft decided to make a similar move. They are now offering a free six-month trial of Microsoft Teams, a product making remote work easier through video and text chat.

There's unmistakably a portion of self-interest going on here. Giving away products for free during a crisis is similar to what newspapers do when they lower their paywalls: it will generate new paying customers. But it would be cynical to say that everything big companies do to help out in a crisis is solely a marketing scheme.

Facebook removed misleading ads from the Trump campaign

Credit where credit is due. Facebook has removed a series of deceptive ads by the Donald Trump campaign who were promoting "the Official 2020 Congressional District Census". The ads made it look like visitors were taking part in the official 2020 US census, which begins on March 12th. The official US census takes place every ten years and is mandated under the US Constitution.

"There are policies in place to prevent confusion around the official US census,"said a spokesperson from Facebook. "This is an example of those being enforced."

The ads started to run on Facebook on March 3rd. They lead users to a survey about common Republican talking points before they arrived at a page where they could donate money to the Trump campaign. Most ads were aimed at older people. For example, one ad explicitly targeted men and women over the age of 65 in Maine, Florida, Arkansas and Arizona. All ads were promoted by a fundraising group supported by both Donald Trump's re-election team and Republican officials.

Austin Mayor forces SXSW 2020 to cancel due to Corvid-19

After both rumours and a petition, SXSW officially announced on Friday that it would withdraw its tech and music conference in Austin, Texas due to concerns about Corvid-19. SXSW, who was supposed to run between March 13th and 22nd, brings 400 000 people in tech, music and film to Austin every year, and is one of the most significant independent events in the tech industry. This cancellation is the first time in the event's 34-year history.

"Based on the recommendation of our public health officer and our director of public health ... I've gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city and associated with that, have issued an order that effectively cancels SXSW," said Austin Mayor Steve Adler at a press conference.

SXSW is only one of many industry conferences to get postponed or cancelled due to concerns around coronavirus. Facebook's F8 developer conference, Google's I/O developer conference, and Cloud Next conference, the Game Developers Conference, Mobile World Congress, and countless other events have also been affected. Most organisers either postponing the physical meetups, transitioning to "virtual" events held online through video conference, or cancelling events altogether.

Tool Data of the week: Women in Tech Today

A newsletter on International Women's Day needs to highlight how we are doing when it comes to gender equality on the tech scene today. We are progressing, but snails still move faster. Today:

  • 11% of start-ups raising money have a female CEO. In 2010 it was 5%.
  • 11.2% of all founders raising funds in 2020 are female. In 2010 that number was 6%.
  • 8.6% of active investors are female. In 2010 it was 4.2%.
  • Only 9.2% of investments are lead by a female investor.
  • In the US, 8% of funded start-ups have only women founders, 14% are mixed, and 78% has all-male founders.
  • In the US, 4% of all money raised goes to women-only founding teams, 9% to mixed, and 87% to male-only founding teams.
  • Women statistically raise 44% less money than men. The average funding round for a female founder is a Seed $13M round, as opposed to a Seed $24M for men.
  • The best ratio of male and female founders raising money, belongs to the US, with 87% being male and 13% being female.
  • The worst ratio of male and female founders raising money, belongs to Latin America, with 91.7% being male and 8.3% being female.
  • Female investors leading a round invest an average of $4M, as opposed to $10M for men. That's 61% less.

This data comes from Women in Tech Today who have also listed 100 female tech CEOs and 100 female tech investors on their website.

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Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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