Today’s Cache | Meta’s third batch of layoffs begins; Microsoft appeals UK block on Activision Blizzard deal; UK works with AI firms for social benefits

Updated - May 26, 2023 09:16 am IST

Published - May 25, 2023 12:39 pm IST

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

Meta’s third batch of layoffs begins

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp-parent Meta has started its third and likely last batch of major layoffs, this time reducing headcount across the company’s business departments, according to a source. Affected teams included marketing, recruiting, engineering, and corporate communications, based on LinkedIn posts made by employees who claimed they had been laid off.

Meta let go of around 11,000 employees last year but announced that it planned to cut its job count by around 10,000 in 2023. CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned there would be layoffs in late April and late May, affecting the technical and business employees respectively. However, several smaller layoff rounds could take place through the rest of the year.

Microsoft appeals UK block on Activision Blizzard deal

Microsoft has confirmed that it filed an appeal against the British regulator’s decision to block its proposed $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard. Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority blocked the takeover due to concerns that the acquisition might affect competition in the cloud gaming market.

Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal is facing scrutiny in the EU, the UK, the U.S., South Korea, and China. While EU regulators agreed to the deal, Britain’s rejection came as a shock to the company and Microsoft criticised the administration in strong terms.

UK works with AI firms for social benefits

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met with the heads of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, Google, and Anthropic to discuss the risks of advances in AI technology across sectors, as well as possible solutions to these problems. They also came to an agreement to work together to make sure that AI technology benefits society. The tech officials in attendance included OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Google DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis, and Anthropic’s Dario Amodei.

As ChatGPT became the fastest growing consumer app in history, many Big Tech firms’ interest in generative AI products has stirred fears over how companies will work with authorities to regulate the technology across jurisdictions.

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