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      AWS director sues Amazon, alleging systemic racism in corporate office

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 2 March, 2021 - 21:43


    Enlarge / Amazon's orange-yellow logo wall. (credit: David Ryder/Getty Images)

    A senior manager at Amazon Web Services has filed suit against the company alleging race and gender discrimination, saying that she was underpaid, denied promotions, and sexually assaulted at the firm.

    Charlotte Newman, who is Black, began working at AWS in 2017 in a public policy role. Prior to joining Amazon, she served as a congressional advisor, including a senior role advising US Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). From the start, she alleges, she was "de-leveled"—hired at a position below the one for which she applied and for which she was qualified—and undercompensated as a result.

    Underpaying Black employees through de-leveling is routine at Amazon, the suit ( PDF ) alleges. "When a company's top leaders traffic in stereotypes of Black employees and fail to condemn intimidation tactics, managers farther down the chain will take note of that modus operandi and behave accordingly," the filing reads.

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      Pinterest shareholders sue firm over rampant gender, race discrimination

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 1 December, 2020 - 18:29 · 1 minute

    The lawsuit alleges that Pinterest does indeed have a darker side.

    Enlarge / The lawsuit alleges that Pinterest does indeed have a darker side. (credit: Thomas Trutschel | Photothek | Getty Images )

    A group of shareholders is suing Pinterest and its board of directors, alleging that the company violated its fiduciary duty, wasted corporate assets, and abused its control by fostering a systematic culture of racial and gender discrimination that drove out women executives.

    Pinterest's top executives and the board "personally engaged in, facilitated, or knowingly ignored the discrimination and retaliation against those who spoke up and challenged the company's white, male leadership clique," according to the suit ( PDF ). As Pinterest's user base heavily skews female, being publicly seen as a den of sexism and racism is damaging to the brand and therefore to the shareholders, the suit alleges.

    "Pinterest’s leadership and Board take their fiduciary duties seriously and are committed to continuing our efforts to help ensure that Pinterest is a place where all of our employees feel included and supported," a company spokesperson said in a written statement. "We believe the actions we’ve initiated as well as the ongoing independent review regarding our culture, policies, and practices will help us achieve our goal of building a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for everyone."

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      Facebook bans Holocaust denial amid rapid rise in “deceptive” content

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Monday, 12 October, 2020 - 18:48


    Enlarge / Facebook's Menlo Park, California, headquarters as seen in 2017. (credit: Jason Doiy | Getty Images )

    Facebook today is, once again, theoretically ramping up enforcement against hate speech, this time with a new policy prohibiting Holocaust denial on the platform.

    The change is due to a "well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally," Facebook executive Monika Bickert wrote in a corporate blog post today.

    The policy is a complete 180 for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who in a 2018 interview specifically described Holocaust denial as the kind of "deeply offensive" speech he nonetheless felt should be permitted on the platform. The next day, amid blowback, he "clarified" his position:

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      Cops in Miami, NYC arrest protesters from facial recognition matches

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 19 August, 2020 - 20:45

    People hold up signs while police in riot gear watch from above.

    Enlarge / Demonstrators marching on a roadway during a protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, on May 31, 2020, in Miami, Florida. (credit: Joe Raedle | Getty Images )

    Law enforcement in several cities, including New York and Miami, have reportedly been using controversial facial recognition software to track down and arrest individuals who allegedly participated in criminal activity during Black Lives Matter protests months after the fact.

    Miami police used Clearview AI to identify and arrest a woman for allegedly throwing a rock at a police officer during a May protest, local NBC affiliate WTVJ reported this week. The agency has a policy against using facial recognition technology to surveil people exercising "constitutionally protected activities" such as protesting, according to the report.

    "If someone is peacefully protesting and not committing a crime, we cannot use it against them," Miami Police Assistant Chief Armando Aguilar told NBC6. But, Aguilar added, "We have used the technology to identify violent protesters who assaulted police officers, who damaged police property, who set property on fire. We have made several arrests in those cases, and more arrests are coming in the near future."

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      Ousted COO sues Pinterest, alleges rampant gender discrimination

      Kate Cox · / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 - 19:51

    A Pinterest logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

    Enlarge / A Pinterest logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (credit: Mateusz Slodkowski | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images )

    The former chief operating officer of Pinterest is suing her ex-employer, claiming that the platform's woman-friendly public face is not matched internally and instead "reflects a pattern of discrimination and exclusion."

    Pinterest hired Francoise Brougher as chief operating officer in March 2018, then fired her in April of this year. In a lawsuit ( PDF ) Tuesday in California, Brougher claims that her dismissal was unrelated to her performance and was instead in retaliation for complaining about sexism.

    Brougher learned in 2019, while reviewing filings that Pinterest was required to make as part of its IPO, that she had been deliberately misled about executive compensation. She was, therefore, being paid less well than other C-suite executives, the suit alleges. After she brought the discrepancy to the attention of Chief Executive Officer Ben Silbermann, she began being squeezed out of executive and board meetings, Brougher alleged, which prevented her from being able to do her job.

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