Coronavirus, Bernie Sanders, European Union: Your Thursday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the while staying safe at home.

Around the world, online habits are changing. But are we giving too much power to tech companies now — and possibly forever? Shira Ovide, the host of our On Tech newsletter, chatted about that question on Twitter with Kara Swisher, a veteran technology journalist and a New York Times contributing Opinion writer. Here are portions of their conversation, lightly edited.

Shira: How do you feel about us relying more than ever on services from tech companies?

Kara: I’m nervous about it. It doesn’t abrogate the problems they had before.

Amazon is doing great things, yet look at what’s going on at their warehouses. Zoom is doing great things. But I have school-age kids, so I’m not too happy about what’s happening there with privacy and security.

Facebook has been better than in the past; it’s not permitting false information about the coronavirus to spread. I’m glad they are doing this, but I’m not going to give them a standing ovation for it.

What should tech companies like Amazon do to protect their workers?

Tech companies have lived off the back of other people’s cheap labor for a long time — whether it’s an Uber driver, a delivery person or Amazon warehouse workers. It’s just coming into sharp relief.

These workers deserve much stronger pay and more benefits. That’s costly to the people who want to stay enormously wealthy, and to consumers who like a low price.

What is keeping you happy right now?

I just had a baby with my girlfriend, and staring at a baby who has no idea that any of this is happening is really quite something. Watch a baby eat bananas for the first time. You will feel just fine.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Isabella


Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the U.S. Navy’s leadership crisis.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: old saying (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times’s DealBook team will discuss the pandemic’s deep and potentially lasting impact on media and advertising with our media columnist Ben Smith and our media industry reporter Edmund Lee at 11 a.m. Eastern on Thursday (4 p.m. in London). R.S.V.P. here.

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