Connected newsletter: Tech giants schooled as online scams rise

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Big Tech companies were in the spotlight this week as they not only updated investors, but also appeared before a Senate hearing where they were forced to discuss their failure to protect children online.

At the Senate hearings, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s main man, was singled out for his company’s lax attitude towards child protection online. Senator Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the committee, accused Zuck of “having blood on his hands,” due to Meta’s inability to safeguard youngsters.

At the hearing, Zuckerberg went off script to apologise directly to the families of children who were victims of sexual exploitation on social media platforms. Whether that will be enough to stop US politicians from taking decisive action against the Facebook parent and its competitors, remains to be seen.

It was a busy week for Wall Street with many of the biggest companies in the US announcing their Q4 results, among them, Microsoft and Google.

Staying with Big Tech for a moment and Amazon jettisoned its €1.4 billion deal to buy iRobot, the company behind Roomba, amid clashes with EU regulators.

Separately, a lawsuit taken by a senior Dublin-based Twitter employee against the social media platform has been resolved, the High Court heard on Thursday.

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It was an end of an era for businessman Denis O’Brien, who finally bowed out of Digicel this week as it completed its restructuring.

Ireland is currently the fastest-growing market for Bunq, the Dutch neobank as it announced a €53.1 million profit for 2023. Hitting profitability for the first time, the fintech, which owns Irish specialist lender, Capitalflow, said Irish savers were saving a whopping €1 million a day with it.

VisionR, an Irish start-up that uses AI to provide brick and mortar retailers with the same sort of data analytics that e-commerce firms have, is now tracking over 300 million consumers globally a year. It confirmed it has secured an additional €900,000 from existing investors.

Also announcing raises this week were mobility software company CitySwift, and and e-bike start-up Moby. Elsewhere, Seroba, the Irish life sciences VC firm, announced the final close of its latest fund at €123 million.

EOS IT Solutions, a Northern Irish family-run IT support and logistics company, said it is to create up to 100 jobs over the next two years after securing a $100 million credit guarantee.

Irish consumers were conned out of €8.6 million by criminals operating fraudulent websites in the first half of last year, new figures have shown.

PayPal has proposed cutting more than 200 jobs at its Irish workforce in its latest global round of job cuts, it said on Thursday. Personio, the HR tech firm, is also letting go of a number of staff locally.

And finally. Hold tight Swifties! There is Bad Blood between Universal Music Group , the world’s biggest record label and TikTok after contract negotiations over a new licensing deal fell apart. UMG is pulling music from the platform as a result with Taylor Swift among the artists whose songs are being yanked. Let’s hope things get resolved quickly or it will be a Cruel Summer for everyone.

All the best,



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The Apple Pro is a marvel, but who will buy it? (New York Times)

Inside the Taylor Swift deepfake scandal (The Guardian)