Hillicon Valley — Tech layoffs escalate

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Layoffs from Silicon Valley giants are spreading, with Google announcing Friday it will cut about 12,000 jobs.  

Meanwhile, T-Mobile said a hacker stole data of about 37 million customers, and a poll showed nearly 30 percent of surveyed professionals said they used the new ChatGPT tool while at work.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? 

Google to lay off 12,000 employees

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, will cut about 12,000 jobs, as tech companies across the board engage in mass layoffs. 

“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to Google employees on Friday. “To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.” 

After a “rigorous review,” Pichai said they would be cutting positions across “product areas, functions, levels and regions” at Alphabet. 

“As an almost 25-year-old company, we’re bound to go through difficult economic cycles,” Pichai added. “These are important moments to sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.” 

The layoffs join tens of thousands of other jobs cuts announced by tech companies in recent weeks:

Meta also dropped 11,000 jobs in November and thousands more were cut in late 2022 from Twitter, Netflix, Stripe and other companies.

Read more here.  

T-Mobile hacker stole data on 37M

T-Mobile said a hacker stole data on about 37 million customers after first gaining access to a company system in November, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) report filed on Thursday.  

The phone carrier said it first identified the “bad actor” on Jan. 5 and was able to trace and stop their activity within a day. 

“Our investigation is still ongoing, but the malicious activity appears to be fully contained at this time, and there is currently no evidence that the bad actor was able to breach or compromise our systems or our network,” T-Mobile said in the SEC filing. 

The hacker breached a single application programming interface on about Nov. 25 that contained data on customer names, billing addresses, emails, phone numbers, dates of birth, T-Mobile account numbers and plan information. However, T-Mobile noted that many of the 37 million accounts affected did not include this entire range of data. 

Read more here.  

NEARLY 30 PERCENT SAY THEY USED CHATGPT AT WORK

Almost 30 percent of professional workers say they have used the artificial intelligence software known as ChatGPT while at work.  

poll from the publication Fishbowl, which focuses on workplace trends and employee perspectives, found that 27 percent of professionals have used the program to help them with work-related tasks. Pollsters reported that those in the marketing and advertising industry have used it most commonly, with 37 percent saying so.  

The AI search tool launched to the public in November and has grown significantly in popularity since then as a free service. A user of the program can type in a question and the tool will respond with an answer in the form of an essay. 

Read more here.  

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Social media must balance ‘right of free speech’ with audience ‘right to know’ 

Notable links from around the web: 

Tech Layoffs Shock Young Workers. The Older People? Not So Much. (The New York Times / Tripp Mickle) 

Tech Workers Fight for Iran Protesters as Big Tech Plays It Safe (Wired / Paresh Dave) 

ONE MORE THING

Tension between Dems and Musk heat up

Tensions between Elon Musk and Senate Democrats are heating up ahead of former President Trump’s expected return to Twitter, which comes amid reports that the popular social media platform has seen a rise in hate speech since Musk’s takeover last year.   

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is raising concerns about Twitter’s opaque financing and whether foreign interests could gain enough influence over the “digital town square” ahead of the 2024 election to pose a national security threat.   

Musk, anticipating more criticism from Democratic lawmakers, on Wednesday predicted the Biden administration “may try to weaponize federal agencies against Twitter.”   

Read more here.  

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.

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