10 things in tech you need to know today

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10 THINGS IN TECH YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

Howdy. Today we've got news about the US blacklisting NSO Group, and a chat with our Global EIC about the metaverse. 

Let's dive in.


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Woman holds phone outside NSO Group in Herzliya

1. The US has blacklisted Israeli firm NSO Group. American companies are now restricted from selling their products to NSO Group — the firm that built Pegasus spyware — as well as three other organizations from Israel, Russia, and Singapore. Here's what you should know.

  • The Department of Commerce said NSO was placed on the "Entity List" because it sold software to repressive governments that used it to target journalists, government officials, activists, and more — threatening "the rules-based international order."
  • NSO's Pegasus is a spyware that can hack into phones with "zero-click" attacks, a sneaky way of turning phones into 24-hour surveillance devices without users ever noticing. The Guardian has a good explanation of how it works.

In other news:

Allbirds Wool Piper Mid

2. Allbirds' co-CEOs are multimillionaires. The footware company soared as much as 116% after going public on Wednesday, giving the company a valuation of about $4 billion. Here's who is positioned for big payouts now that Allbirds is public.

3. Peloton's Black employees are hammering the company with questions about pay disparities. Black employees at the "anti-racist" fitness company say Peloton has a pattern of underpaying certain workers. Here's what four current and former Black employees told Insider about their experiences at Peloton. 

4. A longtime Facebook investor called for criminal investigations into the company. While speaking at Web Summit, Roger McNamee called for six different criminal investigations and prison sentences for any executive found responsible — a sentiment that was echoed by others at the conference. See what else he said. 

5. Nike tapped a new leader to steer it into the metaverse. Eric Redmond will oversee the Metaverse Studio, part of Nike's efforts to establish a foothold in the new digital reality. In a new book, Redmond describes himself as a gadget nerd who leads meetings in virtual reality. Get the latest on Nike's push into the metaverse.

6. Ford is selling a new Bronco SUV — but you can only drive it off-road. With 400 horsepower, no air conditioning, no windows, and a $250,000 price tag, the Ford Bronco DR isn't street legal and is built for desert racing. Check out the rugged SUV here. Ford also announced its electric F-150 Lightning has topped 160,000 reservations. 

7. New internal documents show a Facebook exec blaming the platform's hate speech problem on "demand" for such content. Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's CTO, has been tapped to lead the company's push into the metaverse. Leaked documents show him deflecting blame for hate speech on Facebook, sparking a heated debate on the company's internal message board. More on what Bosworth called society's "hate speech demand problem."

8. Another fired Apple employee has filed a complaint with the NLRB. In her complaint, Janneke Parrish claims the company retaliated after she tried to highlight problems of discrimination and harassment. Parrish was one of 15 employees who created #AppleToo, a website for employees to share experiences of discrimination. What we know so far.

9. Google is trying to lure young workers with caterpillars, birds, and bees. Young people love house plants — so Google is hoping to lure them to its new Manhattan office, which is replete with outdoor open spaces and one "resident praying mantis." How it's using a "biophilic" office to recruit young talent.


A cartoonish depiction of Chris Cox (left) and Nich Carlson (right) chatting in the metaverse.

10. Live from Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon: Insider's Global Editor-in-Chief Nich Carlson spoke with Chris Cox, the CPO of Meta (formerly Facebook), about the company's rough few weeks and its recent rebranding. (Watch a clip of them chatting in the metaverse.) 

Here's a dispatch from Nich: "Older people use Facebook and younger people don't. That means, over time, their user base is shrinking. Like all companies facing a bad story, they needed to tell a new story to investors — and that's, 'Hey, over the horizon, there's a new continent for us to explore: the metaverse.' 

"They will have a major hurdle in getting people used to the idea, but I do think they're going to spend billions of dollars on it. They're probably going to succeed at this. 

"The question is, given Facebook's track record, is that a good thing? I asked Chris Cox and he seemed to say they know they've screwed a lot of things up and want to be slower and more open and careful this time around. Let's hold them accountable to that."


What we're watching: Uber, Airbnb, and Pinterest are reporting their Q3 earnings today. Keep up with earnings here.


Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Michael Cogley in London.

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