Jan 20, 2017

Hot in the Valley: Twitter's diversity struggle

Richard Drew / AP

Twitter employs slightly fewer white men

The social network released its latest workforce diversity report and the results are mildly positive. Now, 57% of U.S. employees are white, down from 59% the previous year, and women make up 37% of employees worldwide are women, up from 34% in 2015.

It's also added underrepresented minorities to its leadership ranks, up from having none in 2015.

Why it matters: Over the last few years, workforce diversity has become a hot topic in the tech industry and companies have made varying efforts to improve their numbers. Twitter's latest numbers are an improvement, but a small one.

  • Still, it's notable the company achieved this while weathering a difficult year that included executive departures, acquisition rumors, and attempts to turn its business around.
  • It was also criticized in 2015 when it hired former Apple executive Jeffrey Siminoff—a white man—to head its diversity efforts.
Everyone's hooked on Meitu

The China-born mobile app has gone viral in Silicon Valley over the past couple of days thanks to its whimsical decorations for selfie photos. Just look at the wonders it does for politicians.

Privacy concerns: The app started to raise flags on Thursday after some security researchers pointed out that it collects unnecessary data from its users' smartphones, with the Android version being more invasive the one on iOS.

The other side: Some experts say it's much ado about nothing and many other free apps collect this type of information, according to TechCrunch.

Why it matters: This illustrates how little most consumers know about their privacy when it comes to the apps they download and use. While some of this increasing data collection is the result of companies looking for ways to make a business from free apps and services, consumers should still be vigilant in an increasingly risky online environment.

Go deeper

The polarized pandemic election

A Trump supporter protests Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order, during a May 15 rally outside the Capitol in Harrisburg. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Trump is going all-in on pushing for a rapid, robust return to normal life, creating a visual, visceral contrast with Joe Biden and other Democrats who are more reticent to rip the masks off.

The state of play: Business friends have been urging Trump from the beginning to keep the lockdowns short. He's listening more and more.

Tech's long hot summer of antitrust

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Google, Facebook and other tech giants face a summer of regulatory grilling as long-running investigations into potential anticompetitive practices likely come to a head.

The big picture: Probes into the power of Big Tech launched by federal and state authorities are turning a year old, and observers expect action in the form of formal lawsuits and potentially damning reports — even as the companies have become a lifeline for Americans during the pandemic lockdown.

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."