Happy Friday! 💃 Here's what everyone's been talking about this week...


App-based drivers are contractors, not employees

In a major victory for Uber and Lyft, California passed Prop 22, with 58.4% voting in favour, and 41.6% voting against. As a result, drivers will remain independent contractors, while the companies will offer limited healthcare options. While workers will have a minimum earnings guarantee of at least 120% of the state’s hourly minimum wage, the time during which drivers are waiting to be matched with a rider will not be counted.

Silicon Valley's most powerful companies have spent the past few months serving up political push notifications to customers, warning them of longer wait times and higher fare prices if Prop 22 failed to go through.

Companies including Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and DoorDash spent over $200m on efforts to push the bill through. Judging from the push notifications presented to customers using the apps, many users probably even thought they were helping drivers by voting the bill through. As Andrew J. Hawkins wrote in The Verge, the victory could set a precedent for how companies use technology to lobby for political outcomes.

Following the announcement on Wednesday, Uber's shares went up by 15%, while Lyft shares went up by 13%. And now it's got its way with California, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says the company already has eyes on "other states and nations".


Other big stories this week

  • YouTube’s science communication channels have a diversity problem. YouTube is often heralded as the great leveller, lowering barriers to entry, and destroying discrimination. But it turns out science communication faces the same challenges on YouTube as it does in academia.

  • This week, Jeff Bezos sold another $3 billion of Amazon stock. That means he's sold over $9 billion of his shares this year so far. Sounds like a lot -- but the value of his remaining 10.7% stake in the company is still more than $173 billion.

  • Soon you'll be able to auto-delete WhatsApp messages after 7 days. The timer will start as soon as the message is sent, meaning that it can still disappear even if it's unread. The feature is rolling out over the next couple of weeks.

  • Trump's special Twitter privileges hang in the balance. Twitter has announced that if Trump loses to Joe Biden, he will also lose his special Twitter privileges -- meaning he could be penalised for hate speech or posts that glorify violence or contain certain types of false information.

Pando

The best thing I found on the internet this week

Kanye West received over 60,000 votes for president during the 2020 election. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, he ended up spending $10.3 million on his presidential run -- that's $171.67 per vote. Yeesh.


Have a great weekend!

Today's newsletter was written by Aimee Pearcy.

Get in touch at [email protected]

Otherwise, see you next Friday!