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The novel coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the globe and once bustling industrial economies are grinding to a halt.
Companies and their employees are being forced to rapidly adapt to a new way of working, civil liberties are being withdrawn to ease pressure on already-squeezed health services, and emergency services on the frontline of the pandemic are making unthinkable sacrifices to attend the infected.
Facebook and Google are among the technology firms that have joined forces to protect and inform people during the coronavirus outbreak. The group of companies, which own and run some of the world’s biggest online platforms, have said they have committed to work together and with governments in response to the pandemic. In a joint statement, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit and YouTube said they would help ensure people could stay connected to each other during isolation as well as fight any misinformation and fraud linked to the outbreak.
The 2020 Mobile World Congress (MWC) technology show has been cancelled after a growing number of firms pulled out over coronavirus fears. Some 100,000 visitors attend the event every year in Barcelona, but companies including Amazon, BT, LG, Sony, Intel and Facebook withdrew due to concerns about the outbreak.
US federal regulators are stepping up their investigation of the market dominance of five giant tech companies, demanding detailed information on their acquisitions back to 2010. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued orders to Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google’s parent firm Alphabet.
Facebook plans to hire 1,000 more people in the UK by the end of 2020, with a large number working on technologies to remove harmful content. The social network said more than half of the recruits will work in technology-focused roles across software engineering, product design and data science, as well as developing the WhatsApp app, and Workplace, its business-skewed version of Facebook.