A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) want regulators to take a closer look at Amazon’s points-based attendance policy, which they believe may be punishing workers for taking legally protected time off. First reported by , the letter to the Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission focuses on Amazon’s “no-fault” approach to absences, which adds points every time an employee misses work without giving advance notice, regardless of the reason. If workers reach a certain number of points, they are automatically reviewed for termination.
Under the company’s attendance policy, an employee whose child has suddenly fallen ill or who suffers a medical emergency would still be penalized. Employees who don’t report absences at least 16 hours before the start of shift receive two points on their record. If they give notice less than two hours before a shift, they receive two points and an “absence submission infraction”. If workers receive three absence submission infractions and eight attendance points, Amazon will consider firing them.
Lawmakers believe that Amazon’s attendance policy could violate that allow workers to take sick, family, medical and pregnancy leave without advance notice. For example, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees eligible workers unpaid leave for a variety of circumstances, including pregnancy or the need to take care of a sick family member.
“We field numerous calls from Amazon employees; while many workers know about Amazon’s punitive attendance policies, they describe never receiving information about the federal, state, and local laws that entitle them to legally protected time off—much less understanding how such laws apply in practice in their own lives,” labor rights group Better Balance in a letter to Congress.
Other companies with "no-fault" attendance policies have run into legal troubles in the past. Back in 2011, Verizon was ordered to pay $ 20 million after the EEOC found that the company's no-fault attendance policy made no exceptions for disabled workers.
Many have complained that Amazon neglected to inform them of their rights under FMLA or disability laws. The company has had a with how it treats workers at its many warehouses and fulfillment centers. A number of warehouses, in response to poor working conditions at the e-commerce giant, are currently pushing to .
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Earlier today, Apple revised its App Store guidelines to give companies such as Microsoft and Google a way to offer their video game streaming platforms on iOS, but did so with a major caveat. Apple said those companies could release catalog-style ap…
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Over the last several years we have worked to improve the way we manage content on YouTube by quickly removing it when it violates our Community Guidelines, reducing the spread of borderline content, raising up authoritative voices when people are looking for breaking news and information and rewarding trusted creators and artists that make YouTube a special place. Today we are announcing a series of policy and product changes that update how we tackle harassment on YouTube. We systematically review all our policies to make sure the line between what we remove and what we allow is drawn in the right place, and recognized earlier this year that for harassment, there is more we can do to protect our creators and community.
Harassment hurts our community by making people less inclined to share their opinions and engage with each other. We heard this time and again from creators, including those who met with us during the development of this policy update. We also met with a number of experts who shared their perspective and informed our process, from organizations that study online bullying or advocate on behalf of journalists, to free speech proponents and policy organizations from all sides of the political spectrum.
We remain committed to our openness as a platform and to ensuring that spirited debate and a vigorous exchange of ideas continue to thrive here. However, we will not tolerate harassment and we believe the steps outlined below will contribute to our mission by making YouTube a better place for anyone to share their story or opinion.
We’ve always removed videos that explicitly threaten someone, reveal confidential personal information, or encourage people to harass someone else. Moving forward, our policies will go a step further and not only prohibit explicit threats, but also veiled or implied threats. This includes content simulating violence toward an individual or language suggesting physical violence may occur. No individual should be subject to harassment that suggests violence.
Beyond threatening someone, there is also demeaning language that goes too far. To establish a consistent criteria for what type of content is not allowed on YouTube, we’re building upon the framework we use for our hate speech policy. We will no longer allow content that maliciously insults someone based on protected attributes such as their race, gender expression, or sexual orientation. This applies to everyone, from private individuals, to YouTube creators, to public officials.
Something we heard from our creators is that harassment sometimes takes the shape of a pattern of repeated behavior across multiple videos or comments, even if any individual video doesn’t cross our policy line. To address this, we’re tightening our policies for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to get even tougher on those who engage in harassing behavior and to ensure we reward only trusted creators. Channels that repeatedly brush up against our harassment policy will be suspended from YPP, eliminating their ability to make money on YouTube. We may also remove content from channels if they repeatedly harass someone. If this behavior continues, we’ll take more severe action including issuing strikes or terminating a channel altogether.
We know that the comment section is an important place for fans to engage with creators and each other. At the same time, we heard feedback that comments are often where creators and viewers encounter harassment. This behavior not only impacts the person targeted by the harassment, but can also have a chilling effect on the entire conversation.
To combat this we remove comments that clearly violate our policies – over 16 million in the third quarter of this year, specifically due to harassment.The policy updates we’ve outlined above will also apply to comments, so we expect this number to increase in future quarters.
Beyond comments that we remove, we also empower creators to further shape the conversation on their channels and have a variety of tools that help. When we’re not sure a comment violates our policies, but it seems potentially inappropriate, we give creators the option to review it before it’s posted on their channel. Results among early adopters were promising – channels that enabled the feature saw a 75% reduction in user flags on comments. Earlier this year, we began to turn this setting on by default for most creators.
We’ve continued to fine tune our systems to make sure we catch truly toxic comments, not just anything that’s negative or critical, and feedback from creators has been positive. Last week we began turning this feature on by default for YouTube’s largest channels with the site’s most active comment sections and will roll out to most channels by the end of the year. To be clear, creators can opt-out, and if they choose to leave the feature enabled they still have ultimate control over which held comments can appear on their videos. Alternatively, creators can also ignore held comments altogether if they prefer.
All of these updates represent another step towards making sure we protect the YouTube community. We expect there will continue to be healthy debates over some of the decisions and we have an appeals process in place if creators believe we’ve made the wrong call on a video.
As we make these changes, it’s vitally important that YouTube remain a place where people can express a broad range of ideas, and we’ll continue to protect discussion on matters of public interest and artistic expression. We also believe these discussions can be had in ways that invite participation, and never make someone fear for their safety. We’re committed to continue revisiting our policies regularly to ensure that they are preserving the magic of YouTube, while also living up to the expectations of our community.
— Matt Halprin, Vice President, Global Head of Trust & Safety
Today, we’re sharing some important changes made to YouTube Music Charts, the go-to destination to see what’s popular, what’s rising and trending both locally and globally on YouTube, and updates to how we determine videos that are eligible for 24-hour record debuts on YouTube.
YouTube Music Charts have become an indispensable source for the industry and the most accurate place for measuring the popularity of music listening behavior happening on the world’s largest music platform. In an effort to provide more transparency to the industry and align with the policies of official charting companies such as Billboard and Nielsen, we are no longer counting paid advertising views on YouTube in the YouTube Music Charts calculation. Artists will now be ranked based on view counts from organic plays.
Over the last few years, fans, artists, and their teams have touted the number of views a video receives on YouTube within the first 24 hours as the definitive representation of its instant cultural impact. It’s a great honor and one we take very seriously. As we look to maintain consistency and credibility across our platform, we’ve made some necessary revisions to our methodology for reporting 24-hour record debuts.
Our goal is to ensure YouTube remains a place where all artists are accurately recognized and celebrated for achieving success and milestones. Videos eligible for YouTube’s 24-hour record debuts are those with the highest views from organic sources within the first 24 hours of the video’s public release. This includes direct links to the video, search results, external sites that embed the video and YouTube features like the homepage, watch next and Trending. Video advertising is an effective way to reach specific audiences with a song debut, but paid advertising views on YouTube will no longer be considered when looking at a 24-hour record debut. The changes will not impact YouTube’s existing 24-hour record debut holders.
Staying true to YouTube’s overall mission of giving everyone a voice and showing them the world, we want to celebrate all artist achievements on YouTube as determined by their global fans. It’s the artists and fans that have made YouTube the best and most accurate measure of the world’s listening tastes, and we intend on keeping it that way.
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WhatsApp’s data-collection policy, which permits the messaging service to share user info with parent company Facebook, drew sharp rebuke from European Union regulators concerned over its lack of transparency.
The post EU advocacy group expresses concern over WhatsApp’s data-sharing policy appeared first on Digital Trends.
You are a large company with a few issues, but need congress to pass a few bills, lean in your favour, or just grease a few palms. How do you do it? Easy, you hire someone who has worked at the White House before and knows all the ins-and-outs of the trade.
That is exactly what Google has done by hiring former White House deputy national security adviser, Caroline Atkinson. She will now be working for Google to lead its public policy efforts. This means she will be handling some very large and tough legal issues Google has been having such as antitrust allegations, Europe’s right to be forgotten laws, general censorship, and more.
Atkinson is a pretty great hire on paper. Other than the White House she has also worked as a journalist and an official at the International Monetary Fund. She shouldn’t have too much trouble handling Google’s issues.
Source: New York Times
Come comment on this article: Google hires a former White House employee to help with policy issues