Bill Maher took big tech to the woodshed over censorship of the COVID-19 Wuhan lab leak theory that was suppressed on social media. The “Real Time” host also lambasted the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday night’s episode.
Maher called out Google and Facebook by name for censorship of the coronavirus lab leak theory that suggests that it is possible that COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
“Facebook banned any post for four months about COVID coming from a lab,” Maher said during a panel discussion on the political talk show. “Of course now, even the Biden administration is looking into this.”
“Google – a Wall Street Journal reporter asked the head of Google’s health division – noticed that they don’t do auto-fill searches for ‘coronavirus lab leak’ the way they do for any other question and the guy said, ‘Well, we want to make sure that the search isn’t leading people down pathways that we would find to be not authoritative information,'” Maher slammed Google, which has over 86% of the search market share.
Maher then blasted the big tech behemoths, “Well, you were wrong, Google and Facebook! We don’t know! The reason why we want you is cause we’re checking on this s***!”
Maher continued to criticize the head of Google’s health division. “He said, ‘We want to ensure that the first thing users see is information from the CDC, the WHO.,” Maher added.
“That’s who I’m checking on,” Maher furiously proclaimed. “The WHO has been very corrupt about a lot of s***, and the CDC has been wrong about a lot of s***. This is outrageous that I can’t look this information up!”
Maher then castigated YouTube for censoring evolutionary biology professor Bret Weinstein’s podcast on the video hosting platform. Weinstein may have his channel removed from YouTube for interviewing a critical care and pulmonary medicine specialist, who touted the effectiveness of the drug ivermectin as a treatment for coronavirus.
“YouTube should not be telling me what I can see about ivermectin. Ivermectin isn’t a registered Republican, it’s a drug,” Maher said. “I don’t know if it works or not and a lot of other doctors don’t either.”
(CAUTION: Explicit language)
“Outrageous.” @BillMaher railed against Facebook and Google for banning and suppressing content about lab leak. “Yo… https://t.co/5uGZeGsGKJ
— Brent Baker (@BrentHBaker)
In April, Maher chastised the media for peddling “panic porn,” and praised Republican Governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott for opening Florida and Texas back up to allow Americans to go outside.
“Sunshine is the best disinfectant and Vitamin D is the key to a robust immune system,” Maher said. “Texas lifted its COVID restrictions recently and their infection rates went down in part because of people getting outside to let the sun and wind do their thing. But to many liberals, ‘That can’t be right because Texas and beach-loving Florida have Republican governors,’ but life is complicated.”
Also in this week’s episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the HBO host talked to director Quentin Tarantino about political correctness and cancel culture.
“I’ve always really appreciated the way you’ve pushed back when everyone’s tried to stifle you, shut you up, shame you, bully you, corral your artistic license—they tried it with the last one, with ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ some bulls*** about Margot Robbie doesn’t have enough lines,” Maher told the legendary director. “You do what I wish other people would do: instead of apologizing like a little p****, you say, ‘I don’t agree with your assessment.’ What’s so hard about that?”
Tarantino, director of “Kill Bill” and “Pulp Fiction,” was attacked and labeled as a “sexist” by the media and online critics over giving actress Margot Robbie only a few lines of dialogue in the movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
Tarantino responded, “Look, even when we’re in a pressure situation where your movie is opening next Friday… if somebody brings up something that’s actually legitimate, I’ll even have a conversation with them about it, because I’m actually into interesting thought, and I don’t even have to agree with you… but when it’s just BS, when it’s just bulls***.”
Maher replied, “Well, it seems like criticism in the recent years has gone to this place of not just… ‘OK, you can criticize a movie,’ but they seem to be saying, ‘This isn’t the movie I would have made.’ Because you can’t.”
Maher later said, “There are two kinds of movies: virtue-signalers and superhero movies.”
Quentin Tarantino: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
Texas Cracks Down on Big Tech Censorship with New Bill, Russia Files Lawsuit Against Google, Facebook – Bringing you Truth, Inspiration, Hope.
The governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, plans to sign into law a bill that will prevent social media platforms from censoring the state’s citizens’ posts. After declaring that censorship won’t be tolerated in the Lone Star State, the governor warned that the First Amendment is under attack from social media companies.
The bill, SB 12, is authored by Republican Senator Bryan Hughes and will empower Texans who are wrongfully restricted or de-platformed to file a lawsuit and help them get back on the platform. The Texas Attorney General will hold the right to bring a claim on behalf of an individual.
If the social media platform fails to comply, the court can impose daily penalties. Governor Abbott noted that these online sites had become today’s public squares where information must be allowed to flow freely. However, the present-day scenario is such that big tech often acts as the jury, determining whose viewpoints are valid and what perspectives can be discussed.
“America was built on freedom of speech and healthy public debate, and efforts to silence conservative viewpoints on social media are wrong and weaken public discourse. I thank Senator Hughes for offering SB 12 to help protect Texans from being wrongfully censored on social media for voicing their political or religious viewpoints. With SB 12, Senator Hughes is taking a stand against Big Tech’s political censorship and protecting Texans’ right to freedom of expression,” Abbott said in a statement.
Hughes expressed great concern at American citizens getting censored on social media for not conforming to a narrow worldview approved by leftist ideologies. He argues that phone companies and cable companies cannot cut people off because of differing political or religious viewpoints.
Since social media platforms are common carriers, they must not be allowed to discriminate in a manner that violates the First Amendment.
Industry association TechNet said that lifting content restrictions could result in kids getting exposed to harmful information online. However, Hughes dismissed such concerns, stating that the legislation will only apply to political and religious speech and not any “lewd, lascivious” activity.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, has called the bill one of his 31 priorities for the current legislative session. Abbott hopes to sign SB 12 into law by September 1.
The Russian government is also getting on board in the fight against big tech, but for a different reason. Moscow has filed lawsuits against Google, Twitter, and Facebook for failing to comply with the government’s censorship requests, which demanded the deletion of posts asking youngsters to join in the protests held against Alexei Navalny’s detainment, the opposition leader.
The lawsuit was filed by the Russian Internet regulatory agency Roskomnadzor. Each platform has three charges against them, with each violation potentially resulting in a fine of up to 4 million roubles (approx. $54,000).
The lawsuits will be heard on April 2. According to Roskomnadzor, legal actions are pending against other foreign social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Telegram.
Facebook had recently blocked numerous accounts for spreading disinformation against Navalny supporters, angering Roskomnadzor, which demanded a full explanation for the sudden move. The company stated that the disinformation campaign aimed to generate large volumes of false posts in a bid to muffle the posts made by Navalny sympathizers.
Facebook to become first major tech company to bring Seattle workers back to offices
Facebook announced Tuesday that it plans to bring its Seattle employees back to its offices at 10% capacity.
This makes the social media giant the first large tech company in the Puget Sound region to begin bringing its workers back in person. In total, Facebook employs over 5,400 people in the region, the fifth most among major tech companies behind Amazon, Microsoft, T-Mobile, and Google respectively.
In a statement to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Facebook spokesman Tracy Clayton indicated that “offices in Seattle, Bellevue, and Redmond are on the verge of opening again at a scale not seen since the COVID pandemic began more than a year ago,” but did not offer a timeline for when exactly that might occur.
The 10% of workers Facebook plans to bring back will be prioritized based on those who have been facing struggling most to be productive with the work-from-home model, the company told the Journal.
Officially, the company still plans to continue offering the option to voluntarily work at home until July 2 worldwide.
“We are encouraging everyone who can do their work remotely to continue working from home,” Clayton said.
In the meantime, Facebook says it will continue monitoring local COVID-19 trends, as well as testing and vaccine access to assess its plans for the future.
Other tech companies in the Puget Sound region have continued to maintain their own remote work policies, including Amazon, where the option to work full time from home remains in place at least through June 2021. Microsoft took that a step further last October, indicating that it plans to enact flexible work schedules that would incorporate remote work options permanently.
Meanwhile, state leaders continue to encourage schools to begin phasing out their own remote models, pushing for students to at least begin returning to classrooms in a hybrid model. That’s based on emergent data indicating that students are less likely to significantly contribute to the spread of COVID-19, and continued increases in vaccine distribution statewide.
Chandler ranks among the best cities for women in tech | AZ Big Media
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that computer and information technology jobs are expected to have grown by 11% from 2019 to 2029, adding 531,200 new jobs in cloud computing, big data storage and collection and information security. The median annual wage for those jobs in May 2019 was $88,240, which is $48,430 higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.
But while tech jobs continue to outpace other occupations nationwide, women still face gender discrimination in the workplace. The BLS says that full-time women workers in all occupations earned $202 less per week than their male counterparts in the third quarter of 2020. This not only makes it harder for women to advance in their careers, but it also adversely affects their ability to save for retirement and cover many day-to-day expenses like food or housing. The employment landscape, however, continues to change. With that in mind, SmartAsset analyzed data to identify the best cities for women tech workers.
READ ALSO: 25 tech startups to watch in Metro Phoenix
We compared 63 U.S. cities for which full data was available and ranked them according to the following metrics: gender pay gap in the tech industry, income after housing, women as a percentage of tech workers and three-year growth in tech employment. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAsset’s seventh annual study on the best cities for women in tech. Check out the 2020 version here.
• Tech opportunities are moving outside of California. Silicon Valley is widely considered the premiere tech hub of America. However, our 2021 study shows that only two California cities rank in the top 15, and neither of those are located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Women can seize tech opportunities in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Ohio, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Washington D.C.
• Women in tech still face a relatively large pay gap. While tech is often considered a progressive industry, our study shows that women on average make 83 cents for every dollar that is earned by their male counterparts. The city with the worst pay gap is Salt Lake City, Utah where women make only 68% of what men get. By contrast, Long Beach, California is the only city in the study where women earn slightly more than men – making $1.01 for every dollar that their male tech peers get.
1. Arlington, VA
Arlington, Virginia is an “inside-the-beltway” suburb of Washington, D.C., and women make up 33.5% of their tech workforce, the sixth-largest on our list. Women tech workers in Arlington also have the eighth-largest income after housing, earning $64,620. Women in this city face the 12th-lowest pay gap in tech, earning 91 cents for every dollar that men make.
2. Washington, DC
Located just across the Potomac River from Arlington, the nation’s capital has a tech industry that is made up of 38.9% women workers, the second-largest percentage for this metric in our study. Women in Washington D.C. get 90 cents for every dollar that their male co-workers make, the 16th-lowest pay gap overall. Furthermore, they have the 12th-highest income, earning $61,083 after housing.
3. Baltimore, MD
Women in tech in Baltimore, Maryland face the second-smallest pay gap in the study, earning almost on par with their male counterparts – at 99 cents for every dollar that men make. The tech workforce in Baltimore is made up of 29.9% women, the 10th-largest overall, and they have the ninth-highest income – $63,203 after housing is deducted. Note, however, that the tech industry has grown only 15% in the three-year period from 2016 to 2019, placing Baltimore in the bottom half of the study for this metric.
4. Durham, NC
Durham, North Carolina is the home of Duke University and part of the famed Research Triangle. Tech women in Durham earn 91 cents for every dollar that their male co-workers make, the 11th-smallest pay gap in our study. The Durham tech industry has grown 30% in the three-year period from 2016 to 2019, the 12th-biggest increase overall for this metric. Women make up 28.6% of the city’s tech workforce, the 14th-largest in the study.
5. Chesapeake, VA
Chesapeake is located in southern Virginia. Women make up 37.4% of its tech workforce – the fourth-largest in our study. Women in this city make 91 cents for every dollar that their male tech peers get and have an income of $54,371 after housing. The Chesapeake tech industry has seen a 23% growth in the recent three-year period from 2016 to 2019.
6. Aurora, CO
Tech women in Aurora, Colorado get 97 cents for every dollar that men make, the third-smallest pay gap in our study. The tech industry in Aurora has grown 25% in three years, the 21st-biggest increase on our list. And women tech workers in this city earn $57,853 after housing, the 19th-biggest income across all 63 cities in the study.
7. Houston, TX
Women tech workers in Houston, Texas make 94 cents for every dollar that their male co-workers earn, the sixth-smallest pay gap in our study. The city’s tech workforce is made up of 27.2% women and has seen a 17% employment growth from 2016 to 2019. Women tech workers in Houston have an income of $61,016 after housing, the 13th-highest overall.
8. Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati, Ohio has the fourth-smallest gender pay gap in tech – our study shows that women earn 95 cents for every dollar that men get. Women in the Queen City make up 30.7% of the tech workforce, the seventh-largest for this metric overall. Their income after housing – at $48,886 – ranks in the bottom half of the study. But the industry itself has seen a 21% growth in employment the three-year period from 2016 to 2019.
9. Albuquerque, NM
Tech women in Albuquerque, New Mexico make about 95 cents for every dollar that their male co-workers earn, the fifth-smallest gender pay gap in our study. While women make up 30.6% of the city’s tech workforce, the eighth-largest in the study, Albuquerque’s tech industry has experienced relatively slow growth. It has seen only 13% growth from 2016 to 2019.
10. Jacksonville, FL
Women in Jacksonville, Florida make up 29.4% of the tech workforce, the 11th-largest in our study. For every dollar that men make, these Florida tech women earn 93 cents – the ninth-smallest gender pay gap overall. Jacksonville, however, finishes in the bottom half of this study with a slower tech industry growth of 17% from 2016 to 2019.
11. Long Beach, CA
Long Beach, California is the only city in the entire study where women in tech make more money than men. They reversed the gender pay gap by earning $1.01 for every dollar that men earn. The tech industry in this California city has seen steady three-year growth, ranking 14th out of 63 with a 27% increase from 2016 to 2019. Long Beach women make up 25.4% of the city’s tech workforce and have an income of $55,640 after housing.
12. Sacramento, CA
Sacramento, California may not stand out as an obvious destination for tech workers, but women make up 37.8% of its tech workforce, the third-largest in our study. That said, pay equity isn’t as high, as women in the industry earn only 88 cents for every dollar that men make. The Sacramento tech workforce has grown 32% in the three years from 2016 to 2019, the ninth-highest increase across all 63 cities in the study. Women tech workers in the city have an income of $46,289 after housing.
13. Philadelphia, PA
Women in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania make up 28.5% of the city’s tech workforce, the 15th-largest rate for this metric in the study. Their income is $52,530 after housing, and they have the 13th-smallest pay gap overall, earning 91 cents for every dollar that their male peers make. The city’s tech workforce has seen a 23% increase in the three-year period from 2016 to 2019, ranking towards the middle of the study for this metric.
14. Chandler, AZ
While women in Chandler, Arizona make up 28.1% of the city’s tech workforce – the 18th-largest in the study – they rank towards the middle of the study for gender pay gap, earning 85 cents for every dollar that men make. Chandler’s tech industry has seen a 23% growth from 2016 to 2019. Women in the city have an income of $60,269 after housing.
15. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, Georgia rounds out the final place in our top 15. Tech employment has grown 33% over the three-year period from 2016 to 2019, the eighth-fastest in our study. Women in Atlanta tech earn 88 cents for every dollar that men make, placing it in about the top third of the study for that metric. Women in Atlanta make up 27.1% of the tech workforce and have an income of $52,594 after housing.
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