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Black Friday sales in New York City. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

More than 50 million people traveled for Thanksgiving this year, which may account for the more than $1 billion spent in mobile transactions alone on Black Friday-related deals — the most spent via smartphones in the history of the holiday.

Catch up quick: Here are 5 more tech stories you may have missed this week. Stories range from Amazon staff in 3 European countries protesting on Black Friday to Apple trying to make veterans' health records available online to a behind-the-scenes look at products pushed by Instagram influencers.

Amazon staff in three European countries protest during Black Friday (CNBC)

  • Why it matters: A lot of money was moved this week by consumers who were prompted by sales, even before the retail holiday. But packages from Europe purchased in the U.K., Spain and Germany may hit a snag from workers who protested Amazon for having what they claimed are unfair working conditions.
  • 90% of workers at a logistics depot near Madrid also joined a walkout Friday.

Report: Apple in talks to make vets' health records available online

  • Why it matters, per Axios' Ina Fried: Apple is looking to provide patients with better access to their health records, and a deal with the Veterans' Affairs Department would give that effort a significant boost.
  • Apple first approached the VA about a potential deal back in 2017, a source told the Wall Street Journal.
  • An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.

Amazon is teaching Alexa to speak like a newscaster

  • Why it matters: News consumption on smart speakers isn't picking up in the U.S., even though purchases and overall usage of smart speakers is increasing overall.
  • Amazon company is hoping Alexa's new voice, trained to detect patterns in recordings of broadcasters’ speech, will make it more pleasant for consumers to listen to news read out loud by a computer.

LinkedIn is testing its own "Stories" feature for college students

  • Why it matters, per Ina: LinkedIn wants to appeal to the 46 million college students and new grads on its network by giving them tools they're familiar with.
  • Student Voices could also become yet another spot where LinkedIn can place ads (a spokesperson says the company is currently focused on understanding how people use the features).

Behind the products that Instagram influencers push on your feeds (Wired)

  • Why it matters: Brands are fully embracing the power of advertising through Instagram influencers, who are part of a multibillion-dollar industry.
  • And it works — many users see those influencers as experts and authentic friends rather than advertisers who are being paid by the companies they feature.

Editor’s note: This piece was corrected to show that more than 50 million people traveled for Thanksgiving (not half a billion people).

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.