The big social networks take steps to ensure that they’re providing accurate information for public health, Charter refuses to allow employees to work from home and Microsoft Teams sees a big spike in popularity. Here’s your Daily Crunch for March 19, 2020.
1. Facebook will put a new coronavirus info center on top of the News Feed
In an effort to disseminate trustworthy health information on COVID-19, Facebook will roll out its own coronavirus information center — a central hub where the company will collect information from sources like the CDC and WHO.
Meanwhile, Twitter updated its safety policy to prohibit tweets that “could place people at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19.” The new policy bans tweets denying expert guidance on the virus, encouraging “fake or ineffective treatments, preventions and diagnostic techniques,” as well as tweets that mislead users by pretending to be from health authorities or experts.
2. Charter staff told to report to offices despite positive coronavirus tests
The phone and internet giant, which owns the Spectrum brand, has doubled down in the past week on its policy of disallowing its 15,000 office-based employees to work from home, prompting one engineer to quit over fears he would contract the illness. Dozens of other Charter employees have contacted TechCrunch in the past few days with concerns about their current working conditions.
3. Microsoft Teams jets to 44M DAUs, announces new features as remote work booms
Microsoft’s Team product is a Slack competitor and a likely beneficiary of the COVID-19 remote work boom. The new figure represents a huge gain on the number Microsoft shared in November 2019, when the product had 20 million DAUs.
4. Home diagnostics startup Everlywell is launching an at-home coronavirus test sample kit
Everlywell’s test kit includes swab-based collection equipment, as well as shipping materials that ensure safe transport of a person’s sample, which is then tested by labs certified for COVID-19 testing under the FDA Emergency Use Authorization.
5. The 20 best startups from Y Combinator’s W20 Demo Day
With world events overtaking the tech industry’s preference for coffee meetings and in-person events, Y Combinator skipped its famous two-day live Demo Day and went for a radical experiment: no demos at all, but instead a long list of the nearly 200 startups in its Winter 2020 batch, with links to their sites and one-page slides. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
6. Ada raises $44M Series B to improve its chatbot customer service platform
“Although AI gets thrown around a lot in the enterprise, we are focused on companies offering solutions that are driving real business value, and Ada is doing exactly that,” said Accel partner Ben Fletcher. “Ada is breaking through the crowded market of chatbots to define a new category of automated customer experience that can manage far greater customer inquiry volumes while delivering some of the strongest customer satisfaction scores we’ve seen.”
While the Daily Crunch has been packed with headlines about the global pandemic, there’s still plenty of news that I’m leaving out. So if you want to stay fully up-to-date, visit our hub for COVID-19 coverage.
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