Hashtag Trending June 22 – Tesla Faces New Lawsuit; Frances Haugen Trains Lawyers to Fight Big Tech; Twitter board recommends takeover bid by Elon Musk

Tesla faces new lawsuit after allegedly firing workers without notice, Facebook whistleblower launches nonprofit to train lawyers to fight big tech, and Twitter board recommends shareholders buy $44 billion to approve sale to Elon Musk.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday 22nd June and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

A new lawsuit seeking class-action status alleges that Tesla violated federal law by firing thousands of workers without notice and denying them two months’ wages. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of allegations against the company. Former Tesla employees John Lynch and Daxton Hartsfield claim they were among thousands of Tesla workers laid off as part of company-wide cuts. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk emailed executives earlier this month that he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and that Tesla would be shedding 10 percent of its workforce, according to a Reuters Report. The workers allege the company failed to comply with federal statutes on collective layoffs, which require a 60-day notification period under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the lawsuit says. The workers are demanding class-action status for all former Tesla employees in the United States who were fired without notice in the months of May or June. According to the complaint, Tesla had suddenly informed employees that their terminations would take effect immediately.

Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who exposed Facebook and testified before lawmakers about the social network’s illegal data activities, is raising $5 million to start a nonprofit focused on providing advocates for fighting big tech companies to train. Haugen’s organization, Beyond the Screen, will also focus on encouraging investors to assess how socially responsible a tech company is before investing in it, and providing regulators and researchers with insight into how platforms work. Haugen has spent several months testifying before authorities and has secured some early-stage funding from donors. The former Facebook employee wants to build a simulated social network, an artificial platform for regulators, researchers and other potential scenarios to play out, according to the insider Business Insider.

Twitter’s board of directors has unanimously recommended that shareholders approve the company’s $44 billion sale to Elon Musk, according to a filing by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In a letter to investors included in the SEC filing, the board said it was “determined that the merger agreement is expedient and that the merger and the other transactions contemplated by the merger agreement are fair, expedient and in the best interests of Twitter and Twitter are shareholders.” The letter did not specify when the vote will take place, but reports from Bloomberg and CNET revealed that it could happen in July or early August. The company’s stock price has fallen well below the $54.20 a share Musk originally offered, but the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX continued to signal his intent to go ahead with the deal in a meeting with Twitter officials last week.

NASA is beginning to shut down its acclaimed Voyager probes as the agency begins shutting down its systems, Scientific American reported. Launched in 1977, 45 years ago, the probes have continued to push the boundaries of space exploration ever since. They are farther from Earth than any other man-made object. The decision to reduce the power supply to the probes is expected to extend their lifespan by a few years, to around 2030. The probes are powered by radioactive plutonium, which allowed the onboard computers to run for decades. The energy in the system decreases by about four watts per year, which requires a reduction in energy consumption. The main purpose of the probes was to fly past Jupiter and Saturn. In 1990, 13 years after its launch, Voyager 1 captured the iconic Pale Blue Dot composite image, a view of Earth taken 3.7 billion miles from our Sun.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is part of the ITWC Podcast Network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your daily Google Home briefing. Be sure to register with us Daily IT wire Newsletter to get all the important news straight to your inbox every day. Also check out the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly hashtag trending episode in French that comes out every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.

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