Hashtag Trending July 7 – Britain investigates Amazon; big tech scoops up Tesla employees; NASA wants to bring Mars samples back to earth

Britain investigates Amazon for potentially favouring its own retail business, big tech companies are hiring former Tesla employees, and NASA wants to bring back Mars soil samples to earth.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, July 7, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Britain’s antitrust watchdog is investigating Amazon for allegedly favouring its own retail business compared to other sellers on the Amazon UK Marketplace. The investigation, according to Sky News, will examine how the platform is using third-party seller data and the criteria for meeting the Prime label. Additionally, the Competition and Markets Authority will look at how Amazon selects the products to be featured in the Buy Box, which are displayed more prominently. The European Commission said in an earlier investigation, also into Amazon for a similar concern, that the issue lies in that the company both sells products on its own platform and hosts other sellers. An Amazon spokesperson said that the company will cooperate with the investigation.

Source: Sky News

Big tech companies are happily snapping up laid-off Tesla engineers. In the past 90 days, 450 Tesla employees have left the company. And while many of them joined other electric vehicle companies, over 100 of them went to Amazon and Apple. This isn’t the first time big tech has attracted Tesla talent. Last month, Microsoft, Amazon and others called for disgruntled Tesla employees to join their companies. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk’s return to in-person work policies has caused a few engineers to jump ship even before the company announced layoffs.

Source: Business Insider

NASA’s Perseverance rover has been collecting Mars soil samples since September, and now NASA wants to bring them back to earth. The plan would see the agency launch another vehicle to bring back the samples, drop them off somewhere in Utah, and then transport them to a secure facility. These precious samples would provide an exceedingly rare opportunity for scientists to search for signs of life on another planet. But since the soil will be unsanitized, some people are worried that it would contain harmful microbes. Given their concerns, NASA may open another chance for the public to comment in the near future.

Source: Phys.org

Japan has raised the punishment for online insults. Now, hateful messages can incur up to $2,200 in fines and up to a year in prison. The country hopes that the tougher punishment will reduce cyberbullying, which was recently believed to have driven Hana Kimura, a 22-year-old professional wrestler, to commit suicide. Oppositions to the law argued that the penalties would also deter legitimate criticism of politicians, but Japan’s Justice Minister stressed that it would not restrict freedom of speech.

Source: Kyodo News

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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