Hillicon Valley — Musk to hold Q&A with Twitter staff

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk will hold a question-and-answer session with Twitter staff after some internal criticism was raised following the news of his appointment to the company’s board of directors.  

Meanwhile, Microsoft said it disrupted a Russian cyberattack that was targeting Ukraine, the U.S. and the European Union.

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 KlarChris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Musk to answer Twitter staff questions 

Elon Musk will address questions from Twitter employees after his appointment to the social media company’s board led to some internal criticism and concerns from company staff.  

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed Friday that Musk will join Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal for an “AMA,” or ask me anything, session for Twitter employees “soon.” The spokesperson did not offer additional information.  

The question-and-answer session was first reported by The Washington Post, citing an email Agrawal sent staff on Thursday. 

Read more here.

Microsoft disrupted Russian cyberattacks 

Microsoft announced Thursday that it had disrupted Russian cyberattacks targeting Ukraine and organizations in the United States and European Union. 

A Russian hacking group called Strontium was targeting Ukrainian organizations, including media organizations, as well as both public and private foreign policy-related institutions in the U.S. and EU, Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of customer security and trust, said in a blog post. Strontium is connected to the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service. 

“We believe Strontium was attempting to establish long-term access to the systems of its targets, provide tactical support for the physical invasion and exfiltrate sensitive information,” Burt wrote. 

Read more here.  

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BESSEMER ROUND 3?

The union seeking to represent workers at Amazon’s Bessemer, Ala., warehouse filed objections Thursday evening to the e-commerce giant’s conduct during the facility’s recent unionization election. 

The results of the election may not be known for several weeks, as the current vote tally — 993 votes against unionizing have been counted versus 875 “yes” votes — could be swung by the 416 ballots that were contested. 

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which would represent the workers in Bessemer in the event of a win, claimed Thursday that Amazon interfered in the voting process. 

The union filed 21 objections that it believes “both separately and cumulatively constitute grounds to set the election aside.” 

Read more about the objections here. 

DON’T MENTION IT

Twitter announced on Thursday that it is “experimenting” with a new feature that would allow users to remove themselves from conversations in which they were tagged by others. 

“How do you say ‘Don’t @ me,’ without saying ‘Don’t @ me’? We’re experimenting with Unmentioning—a way to help you protect your peace and remove yourself from conversations—available on Web for some of you now,” Twitter Safety tweeted

Twitter Safety provided a GIF illustrating how the feature would function, with a user tagged in a conversation clicking on an option to “leave this conversation.” 

Read more here.  

CYBERATTACKS HIT FINLAND’S DEFENSE MINISTRY 

Finland was hit with cyberattacks and an airspace breach on Friday while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was speaking to the Finnish Parliament.  

The country’s Ministry of Defense tweeted earlier Friday its website was under attack and it would shutter until further notice.

A few hours later, after resolving the issue, the department clarified that the cyberattack was a denial-of-service attack, which aims to shut down a website so users are unable to access its information.  

The attack also affected the Finnish foreign ministry’s websites, according to the ministry’s Twitter. 

Read more here.  

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: We need to protect children’s data online — but let’s protect everyone’s data while we’re at it  

Lighter click: We’ve all been there 

Notable links from around the web

  • Axie Infinity’s Financial Mess Started Long Before Its $600 Million Hack (The Verge / Adi Robertson)
  • Internet ‘algospeak’ is changing our language in real time, from ‘nip nobs’ to ‘le dollar bean’ (The Washington Post / Taylor Lorenz)
  • Do Democrats Really Want Amazon’s Workers to Win? (Intelligencer / Sam Adler-Bell) 

One last thing: Discovery leadership changes 

Discovery Inc. announced an executive leadership team to head WarnerMedia amid a major merger between the two companies that will be finalized this month. 

Channing Dungey will continue as chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group, while Casey Bloys continues as chief content officer of HBO & HBO Max, the company announced. Kathleen Finch will assume a newly created role of chairman and chief content officer, US Networks Group, a new, consolidated organization comprising the company’s more than 40 U.S. networks. 

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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Author: Rebecca Klar